Derrick Rose's injuries, a look back at the downward spiral

Derrick Rose's injuries, a look back at the downward spiral

So I've been in many arguments recently about whether Derrick Rose could come back healthy or not, and I was looking to find somewhere that documented the complete Derrick Rose injury history only to find that I couldn't find such a place.  Well, this might not be the most complete one possible, but I'm going to try to cover the important aspects.

Prior to 2012, Derrick hadn't had any significant injuries. He missed a game with a strained neck, a few games with a sprained wrist, and he had the hamstring/achilles injury in preseason but played through it during the regular season [though worth noting, he got off to a poor start that year which caused a bunch of Brandon Jennings is better than Derrick Rose posts which is awfully amusing in retrospect].

Derrick missed 27 regular season games out of 66 in the 2011/12 season. He missed his first batch due to a bruised toe which was theorized to never heal properly causing a slew of compensatory injuries and in the eyes of the worst conspiracy theorists leading up to the torn ACL.

The first game missed with the toe was Jan 11th. He came back to play the next two games logging 80 combined minutes. He then had to miss the next four games with the toe injury, and the Tom Thibodeau bringing guys back too fast and too hard from injury problem was born.

His next spat of injuries came in the form of back spasms which occurred on Feb 6th. He attempted to play through them on the eighth and gutted out 22 minutes, however his condition worsened, and he sat out the next five games.

Starting March 14th, Rose would miss time with a strained groin. He missed a total of 12 games over almost one month of action with a strained groin. He returned on April 8th, and would then miss the next game on the 10th with a sprained ankle which occurred in his come back game.

He'd play a few more games before missing an additional three (18th, 19th, 21st) with a right foot injury. Rose played one more game on the 25th and then sat out the finale which was to decide home court in the playoffs. The Bulls also rested Korver/Deng for the game and won handily anyway to lock up the number one seed.

We all know what happened in the first playoff game. Derrick Rose tore his ACL.

The recovery of the ACL became a media blitz for Adidas, whom bet on Rose having an Adrian Peterson like story and hoped to capitalize early. There were certainly that type of optimism about Rose returning early on. The front office certainly appeared to expect him to play.

This began the long saga of changing news. While Chicago never said anything definitive about Rose's status simply saying it was an 8-12 month injury once Rose began practicing in February it sure looked likely he would get on the court. Rose gave the famous USA today interview where he noted he might not play this season.

Many have conspired that Rose intentionally sat out the remainder of the season to spite the Bulls due to roster mismanagement, a theory largely put out there by Derrick's brother Reggie who openly questioned why Derrick should come back to play with these guys. Derrick of course, denies such a theory.

Personally, I think Rose looked at the year leading up to his ACL injury and felt he was rushed back time and time again into action and never fully healed and figured he wouldn't be right coming back at the end of the season and would risk further injury if he did come back. He had never fully taken the time to heal before and figured this time he'd better because an ACL is far more serious.

That may also be a bunch of BS, but it's generally the story I believe, and when I try to put myself in the mindset of a player who suffered five separate injuries the previous season and never got back with every injury leading to another injury, it makes sense to me. More sense then the "I don't think I can win with these guys, but I won't recruit either" stance.

Rose returns from the ACL at the start of this season, and Bulls fans are pumped. There was definitely plenty of anger for Rose missing all of the previous season stemming from Reggie's comments and the thought Derrick may have been able to play, but a new season breeds forgiveness.

It's now somewhat controversial how well Rose played this year. In preseason, he started off slowly, but then he started tearing it up. However, once the regular season started, Rose struggled mightily.

He clearly had some explosiveness, but in my watching, it appears his explosiveness is in a straight line. He looks like he lost his shiftiness and ability to quickly change direction, the things where the ACL injury would impact him most. In this sense, it's my personal belief that he hasn't shown the same level of athleticism post ACL as he did pre ACL.

There are different ways to look at this, it could simply be that until playing against legit regular season NBA competition, Rose himself didn't realize that he wasn't pushing himself enough laterally. After all, there aren't many guys who can stick with him, so he probably didn't need to be so shifty in preseason, practices, or off-season work outs.

Given time, he may have adjusted to improve that area. Unfortunately, Rose then goes down with the torn meniscus.

At this point, there were multiple options for the surgery. The "shave" procedure which would have allowed Derrick to come back in a more quick time frame (maybe a month or so) or the re-attach procedure which Derrick ultimately had which kept him out for the season.

The shave procedure has been famously ripped on by Dwyane Wade who notes it's the reason his knee is so bad now as it has bad long term consequences. Other players have made full recoveries with the reattach procedure which, to me, makes it probably a no brainer to go that route for Rose.

Even with the reattach procedure, many felt Rose could have made it back prior to the end of this season. The time frame on the recovery was listed at 4-6 months by the front office and his medical staff, but googling the time frame for the procedure 3-4 months seems more like norm. Granted, that might not be to NBA athlete levels.

Personally, I think it was definitely the right call for Rose to sit at the end of this season if it was ever a choice which it may not have been. Rose may not have been anywhere near close to playing physically, we don't really know.

However, when looking at the chain of his injuries, it's been a long time since Derrick's had his body right. Extra rest didn't appear to help him stay healthy after the ACL, but it's hard for me to take the stance that rushing him back sooner would have had him any healthier.

At this point, Derrick Rose just appears fragile. The Bulls should treat him with kid gloves until Rose can get a good chunk of games under his belt and play for a decent time frame without injury, lest they lose their MVP once more. Derrick's played in just 50 regular season/playoff games over the past three NBA seasons.

One more significant injury, and what started off as an amazing career might have nothing left to it but stories of what might have been.


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  • Doug, the initial injury occurred when there was a loose ball in Minnesota and Anthony Tolliver dove/fell onto Rose's calf and his toes bent awkwardly. This made his turf toe flare up, but this looked worse than it ever did, and is my theory for the whole snowball effect we saw.

    I hope I never see Anthony Tolliver on the street.

  • I think it is simply a matter of the hoops gods messing with us. What they giveth (1.7%) they taketh away.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    More like they took away for MJ. They already took away Jay Williams and Eddy Curry for health reasons, I thought Rose was a makeup for those.

  • Thank you for this article, Doug. My fingers are crossed that this is a new start to a Hall of Fame career.

  • I am also taking this on a positive spin and think Derrick will be back to his MVP level next year, given all of his injuries leading to the ACL were a result of compensations on his body due to other injuries in 2012. Additionally, given the short season due to the lock out, not enough time was given to prepare and conditioned for the brutal 60 games. All we need is another super star next to him and we are a championship caliber team again. Go Bulls!!!

  • Here's what I think wold be best for Derrick Rose: Reggie Rose "disappears" and the rest of the family get out of meddling/over involvement in the life of a (supposed)man in his mid 20's. Unfortunately that is not likely to happen. Then for his scoring/game playing psyche I think a guy like Pop or Phil could get him back on track looking at things the "right" way a lot better then a Tom Thibodeau will/would IMO. If I was his friend I would really like to see him go with a mentor on another team. However due to money etc. that will not happen.

    Personally, I'm not real optimistic about Derrick's future, but we'll see. I sure as hell don't think he should miss all this Bulls basketball he's getting paid so much money for, and then go play on some international team overseas. Last time he did that he didn't fit in at all anyway and lost confidence in his jump shot. Spend the summer here part of it working on your game with your teammates.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    No worries. I don't think Derrick will get a lot of burn with the US Team. I think he'll end up getting cut relatively early on in the process of determining the roster for Spain. Coach K has said he wants to go into the games with more size than he did in London, and Rose is not rating ahead of Westbrook, Paul or Curry (probably not Lillard or Irving, either).

    As for Rose's long-term future, I can't help but wonder if he is another Penny Hardaway; one of the great what-if talents of the last 25 years. That they both went to Memphis is an uncool coincidence I try not to think about.

  • In reply to Salvamini:

    Unfortunately that seems to be the direction that his career is headed, at this point Grant Hill would be the upside.

  • Doug,

    I think we'll see a lot of Derrick tuning up with the Team USA minicamp, which should let us see him play against some decent competition. Hopefully we'll see Rose able to cut around guys instead of trying to barrel through them...

  • I recall commenting during Rose first few seasons, before he got injured that the way he played but way too much torque on his body especially his legs and lower body. A lot of it seemed unnecessary to me. Unless he can find another way to play I doubt that he will ever be healthy or effective again. If he does find another way to play can he still be the same player, probably not. I'd say we've seen the last of him as an MVP, or even as an elite player.

  • Bad news for Dario Saric fans, which at this point seems to be only me.

    "Mike Budenholzer was spotted in Croatia with longtime Euro-coach Neven Spahija. Watched Dario Saric drop 24 points on 9-of-12 FGs"

    Isn't he the Hawks coach, who draft ahead of our Charlotte pick at 15. That would piss me off to no end if Horford's injury ends up allowing the Hawks to snag him one pick ahead of us.

  • More on Saric, the Bulls should trade both their picks and whatever else is necessary to move up and get this guy.

    22 points 13 rebounds 6.5 assist on average, these are the numbers put up by Dario Saric during the ABA league final four. Eye opening numbers for a player that led his team to its first league title in its history. After a sloppy start, Cibona has improved through the season, through the developments of their young rising star. During the event held in Belgrade, the Croatian talent has shown usual offensive versatility and passing skills, especially in the transition game. But what has impressed the most has been his shot consistency, which is one of the keys to his future overseas. He shot 50% from three point (8-16 overall in two games), in different situations: catch and shoot and with the pull up jumper, showing confidence and poise. His mechanics are still not fluid enough, but the improvements are encouraging.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I like that idea of trading up to get Saric, tho some mocks have him going at #9, and I doubt the Bulls could move that far. However, if the Bulls need to move Taj to have space for Carmel, then it might happen.

    You have been high on Saric for many months, and you were right. This is the type of pick that can land an eventual superstar, but at lower cost.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Yea, if he hasn't already or doesn't sign with a Euro team he will go between 6-10. However, there have been rumors that he has signed a 3 year contract with buyout provisions. That might get him out of the top 10 but I even then I doubt that he makes it to 16.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Did you see this possible trade on BR suggested by Scalleta?

    "Chicago could offer the Knicks Carlos Boozer, their two first-round picks this year, their protected Sacramento Kings pick, and agree to take back Raymond Felton's bad contract.

    If the Bulls did all that, and Anthony took a contract to make the salaries match, he would make $17.24 million in the first year of a four-year, $73.63 million deal. That would still be a significant pay cut, but it’s not an insulting one."

    I do not know how long Felton's contract is, but it can't be very high if his and Carmelo's proposed $17.24 million would match Boozer's $16.8 million plus the two 1st rounders. I think this might be a mistake.

    If not, then moving Taj for a draft pick should allow the Bulls to get Carmelo and bring over Mirotic this summer. That is a contending team! Plus the owner(s) would be thrilled that they are not eating Boozer's salary for next season (tho that would be reduced anyway by whatever he gets from another team).

  • Interesting/fun article/map about basketball fandome.

    Doug, if you get bored sometime this summer you might use this as the basis for a post.

  • LeBron James calling a Boycott if Sterlings still own the Clippers next season.

    Go on with pay.

    Who made LBJ commissioner?

    Mrs Sterling did nothing wrong. She will win her case to remain an owner in any Federal court.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Silver made a political decision, not a legal decision. Besides, the info he based it on was due to an illegal betrayal, which the betrayer now evidently regrets. It's a real mess.

    I hate prejudice because it is unloving and, in fact, a violation of God's law to love one's neighbor as oneself. But it is impossible for the NBA, or any organization, to deal with this in a even-handed way. The pressures will always be unbalanced, because humans are unbalanced. Watch and see.

  • 'Spat'? Did you mean 'spate'?

  • Derrick Rose has become the poster boy for sports injuries. One positive thing that can come from his story is that it gives everyone a crash course in human anatomy.

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