For the first time since tearing his ACL on April 28th in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal Derrick Rose was back on a basketball court. He sent out a tweet with him holding a basketball to show fans he is ready to get to the next part of his rehabilitation, even saying he was two to three weeks ahead of schedule in the rehab program. This news gave most in Bulls nation the good news they have been waiting for in an off season filled with none. While the news of Rose's accelerated progress is a great sign, it means nothing. Nada. Zip. Bupkis.
A lot of people will say being two to three weeks ahead of schedule in anything is a good thing. Whether it's finishing your college dissertation or a bonus at work, the sooner the better, right? In this situation however, the news needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Rose is ahead of schedule in the rehabilitation program itself, but the actual healing the knee has done on its own is still unknown. Rose can rehab at lightning quick speed but if the knee isn't healing at a steady rate then there has really been no progress made. It doesn't matter if he completes the program in October, he will not play until his knee has fully healed.
Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf stated publicly that he wants Rose 100% healthy before he plays again. He doesn't want Rose rushed back and have a set back. This is a smart move and a big reason why it may be best to just shut Rose down for the entire season. I know that sounds crazy but let me explain.
This is a transition season for the Bulls. Their best player is out for the majority of the season, their second best player may need wrist surgery, Kirk Hinrich was the big off season acquisition and most importantly, Stacey King's signature catchphrases are sent in to early retirement with the bench mob being broken up and sent off to the rest of the league. Point being, in a season where the Bulls won't win a championship, is it worth rushing your star player back for what in a likelihood would be at most a second round playoff elimination?
The Heat are the champs and are stacked even more with the addition of Ray Allen. The Lakers just won the Dwight Howard sweepstakes and have a starting lineup that is 4/5's of an All Star team(sorry Metta). The Thunder, Pacers, Celtics, Nets, Knicks, Mavericks, Nuggets, Clippers, and so on are just a few of the teams who will be better than the Bulls next season. All of those teams have a better chance of winning a title than our Bulls this season. Can you honestly see the Bulls stacking up against any of these teams like they would have in the past? I shudder to imagine the "epic" match up with Nate Robinson one on one with Deron Williams or Nazr Mohammad trying to stop Roy Hibbert inside the paint.
Maybe the most important part of shutting Rose down is to take the pressure off of himself. He prides himself on being the leader of this team and the face of the franchise. He wants to make his hometown proud and bring a title to the United Center one day. The pressure that would be put on him as we would creep closer and closer to the post season would be suffocating if he hasn't returned by then. That could be a recipe for disaster as he would potentially risk re-aggravating or re-injuring that ACL and could even cost him years on his career. It is simply not worth it.
I love watching Derrick Rose play. I want nothing more then for him to return 100% healthy and lead the Bulls to a championship just as much as the next Bulls fan. However, it won't be this season which is why Rose should be shut down for the entire season. Not only to take the pressure of the fan base off of him, but to take away the pressure he puts on himself. Then he can focus entirely on rehabbing and coming back better than ever in 2013(and hopefully paired with another superstar) and ready to make a title run once again with the Bulls. It's only one year. We Chicago fans are a patient bunch. Isn't that right fellow Cubs fans?
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