The NBA All-Star game is set to take place in Orlando next weekend.
Derrick Rose was voted a starter for the Eastern Conference for the second year in the row. This will be his third All-Star appearance.
If he were smart, he'd take the weekend off, as well as the three games leading up to it.
Rose has already missed more games this season (eight) than he has over his three previous seasons in the league (six).
The Chicago Bulls have been pretty lucky, going 6-2 without the reigning MVP, but much like they have done with Rip Hamilton, they need to sit Rose until he is completely healthy.
First, Rose missed four games in mid-January due to a toe sprain. Now a month later he has already missed four more due to back spasms. He also clearly played through the pain before, most recently only playing 33 minutes combined against Milwaukee and New Orleans.
In my mind, it is great that Rose is improving, and I'd rather see him keep improving than risk further injury.
The Bulls have a pretty easy schedule over the next week leading up to the All-Star game. They have three games, and two are against below-.500 teams. The Atlanta Hawks on Sunday could be a tough game, even with Rose, since they have split the season series 1-1 so far, but is one win worth it if Rose were to miss another five games because he hurts his back again?
I think the best course of action is for Rose to fully take the next week off. Don't practice, and don't even think about playing. Don't travel to Orlando because you will be making many more trips to All-Star games in the future.
Get fully healthy and be ready come February 28 for the second half of the season, because it is going to be brutal.
Coming up down the stretch, the Bulls still have to play the Heat, Knicks and Magic all three times as well as the Pacers and 76ers twice. They also have one more matchup against Boston plus the Thunder, Nuggets and Mavericks.
Trust me, I'd love to see Rose playing alongside Luol Deng while being coached by Tom Thibodeau in Orlando at the All-Star game next weekend, but will any of that matter if Rose isn't healthy in May come playoff time?
I hope the Bulls and Rose do the smart thing.
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