Derrick Rose tore his ACL on April 28, 2012. The last game the Bulls played was on May 15, 2013. For all of you math wiz-kids out there your calculations did not fault you, Derrick Rose had 382 days and nights to put on a Bulls jersey again. But yet he never was able to accomplish this miraculous feat.
First of all, I want to make it very clear that I know Derrick Rose’s “brand” of basketball is not that of the typical NBA player. His success is fully dependable on his explosiveness, agility, and ability to twist and turn his body in route to getting to the basket. I also happen to be fully aware that this style of basketball causes Rose to be increasingly more susceptible to injuries. Taking this into account, I do not blame Rose for being cautious about his return. However, waiting a year and one month to come back crosses the line that falls between cautious and cowardice. Maybe cowardice is a tad harsh, but at least you can say that it is undoubtedly overcautious.
Lets all take a moment or two or twelve, if you’re into that type of thing, to reflect on another one of the premier athletes in the world of sports. Adrian Peterson is unarguably one of, if not the best player in the NFL at the toughest position in an already extremely difficult as well as exerting sport. Adrian Peterson suffered a torn ACL like Rose, yet he managed to return to his more physical and wearing sport in just over nine months. Indeed this is quite the stupendous return, and it is absurd to expect Rose to return in the same timetable. However, if Peterson can return in nine months and statistically be the best running back in the league, is it absurd to expect Rose to be able to return in over a year?
The answer to this stumper of a question can be answered in only two simple words. Absolutely not.
Lets fast forward to 2013 playoffs. The Chicago Bulls somehow manage to take down the higher seeded Brooklyn Nets in seven games. If this wasn’t enough to motivate Rose to come back, surely taking down the best team in basketball, the Miami Heat, in game 1 in Miami would be. However, to quote the incredibly incompetent Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend!” Rose remained inactive for the rest of the series, which ended in five games with the Bulls falling. Now for the big whopper of a question: Where was Rose? Do I expect him to start, put up big numbers, and play 40+ minutes? Absolutely not. But if you want to be one of the stars you have to start acting like it. Simply the presence of Rose on the court is enough to give them that extra boost. Him picking up some significant minutes, and giving guys like Jimmy Butler and Nate Robinson a much needed break would have been monumental. Having his veteran leadership on the court could have changed the game for good. If David Lee can play through a torn hip flexor just nights later after it occurring, I think Rose can give his team some incredibly helpful minutes more than a year following his injury.
At the end of the day, we do not know what would have happened if Rose had played in this series. Maybe they still would have lost. There is a good chance of this considering the Heat are a quality squad, and the refs give them every single call. Nonetheless, they never had a true chance without their star on the court. In my eyes, a star is the guy that you can count on night in and night out to give your team a chance to win no matter the circumstances. And although Rose’s talent is through the roof and beyond, he never gave his team a shot to win. For that Derrick, you should be disappointed in yourself. Don’t worry, we all are.