Rose has been battling a severe groin pull suffered during the Bulls’ last contest against the New York Knicks back on March 12. Rose has missed 10 consecutive games since then and is expected to hit eleven straight against the Houston Rockets according to ESPNChicago.com.
What was once thought to be a minor tweak that would sideline Rose for about four or five games has grown into a three week hiatus with no apparent end in sight.
Bulls blog PippenAin’tEasy.com is reporting that Rose’s injury is worse than anyone has let on, and he is probably done for the rest of the regular season.
Rose has tried to remain optimistic throughout all of this.
K.C. Jones over at the Chicago Tribune reports Rose saying this about a possible return before the season ends: "I think so," he said. "It's up to me, so, yeah, I think I am."
Clearly this is a reflection of both Rose’s dedication as player and the toughness instilled in the Bulls as a whole by head Coach Tom Thibodeau; however, bringing Rose back in time for the playoffs may not be in the best long term interest of bringing an NBA championship back to the city of Chicago.
The Bulls are a decent team without Derrick Rose. They boast a 14-6 record in the games he has missed this season, and although they struggled at times on the offensive end without him, they have not missed a beat with rebounding, assists and points allowed.
Even with conference heavies like the Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics left on the schedule, getting more regular season notches against them is nothing compared to being able to best them in May.
Some may argue that home court advantage would be tremendous edge for Chicago, especially in a possible finals situation where they may face a great home team like the Oklahoma City Thunder or San Antonio Spurs, but would that seeding really mean anything if the MVP is not around to help defend home court?
The Bulls have a 21-5 record at home and a 21-7 road record which means they can steal away home court advantage in any series if they have a healthy Rose along with other key players.
As the severity of this injury becomes more apparent, it’s starting to put things into perspective.
Last season, Thibodeau pushed his team to the brink all year, and it all caught up with them when the Bulls limped into the Eastern Conference Finals and were trounced by Miami in a mere five games.
This season, he’s shown a bit more reserved this as exhibited by sitting Luol Deng for a couple of spells and taking it very slow with bringing back Richard Hamilton.
The current Bulls team is more than just a much improved squad from a couple of seasons ago; they are bona fide championship material but only if everyone is ready and able to play (the key word being "able").
It’s time for the team and fans to come to the sobering realization that health absolutely trumps all in the quest for title number seven