There's plenty of reason to hope this season, Derrick Rose carries himself with the attitude of a Michael Jordan who was just eliminated from the playoffs in 1995 with something to prove coming back. That said, there's just as much reason for fear, it's possible Rose may never come back from this injury and become the same caliber of player he was.
To contrast those points, we have reports that Derrick tore it up in his first practice juxtaposed with Derrick having a planned rest just two days after Rose said he intended to not miss a practice echoing his sentiments at media day three days earlier.
The Bulls’ general manager and coach could be forgiven for being overly enthusiastic on Saturday following not only Derrick Rose’s aggressive first practice of training camp but Rose’s boldness afterward.
“I got confidence in my (surgically repaired left) knee,” Rose said. “There’s no testing anymore. It’s going out there and playing hard and attacking.”
By all accounts, that’s what the former league most valuable player did in the first session Saturday morning. Thibodeau is devoting the evening sessions on both Saturday and Sunday to film work, shooting and walk-through points of emphasis. Rose said he plans to not miss a practice.
“We cut him out today. It was planned rest. He did some, the warm-up phase. But today was a planned rest day for him,” the coach explained. “And we went shorter today. We had a teaching segment that, of course, he participated in, and the warm-up phase. But the live stuff, we were planning on giving him today off.
“With all our players, usually the third day and fifth practice we’re dealing with heavy legs. We just thought we’d give him today off. Mentally, he’s sharp so he did his conditioning off the floor. He’ll be ready to go tomorrow,” he continued. “Until he gets out in a game, we said we’d take it step by step from how he practices. He has practiced very well. The next step is to see where he is in a game. We’re trying to get it as close to a game-like condition as we can. He has handled that part. But there’s nothing like a game. The preseason games will be the next step. And of course there’s a different level when we get to the regular season. But he has prepared himself well.”
Now Derrick getting a planned rest is a good thing. It shows the Bulls are serious about taking things slow and making sure everything is okay with Rose. They could be holding him back whether Rose likes it or not.
In fact, a planned rest isn't necessarily contradictory to Rose saying he intended to play in all practices as there's no guarantee he was part of the decision. That said, maybe it's paranoia, but it just feels kind of off.
At media day, Gar Forman said there was no distinct plan minute caps and said the Bulls would approach the situation fluidly. Everyone also gave the "rah rah, we're all in this together" speech saying Derrick was a big part of the decision on how things worked.
These statements would seem to indicate a rest wouldn't have been planned a few days in advance and would have come up as needed in a fluid situation, and that if there was a plan in advance, Derrick would have been part of the decision making process and likely wouldn't be discussing on media day and the day after the first practice that he intends not to miss anything.
What makes this somewhat more suspicious yet is that the Bulls team all had off from practice today. Why have a planned rest day for Derrick after two practices [the Bulls used the second half of two-a-days for film study] when a day off is looming? Rose really can't go through three practices in a row before a team rest day?
My guess is this is nothing, but the timing before an off day is a bit scary as well as Rose's previous statements of wanting to do everything. At the very least, it shows how the organization and Rose are still sort of bungling the PR around the scenario if it is. If you really had this plan in place and just said so on media day then no one would look suspicious at this, but when Rose announces twice that he won't miss anything then misses practice two days later, it just leaves a queasy feeling.
Maybe there's an issue with timing, they discussed the planned rest after his statements on Sunday, or maybe he wasn't in on the plan despite previous statements saying he was part of the decision making process for everything.
The whole thing isn't exactly Amare Stoudemire having another secret knee surgery like with the Knicks, but it's just one more little blip on the "uncomfortable" radar until we see Derrick back.
Which, by the way, is just four days away.