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.