Derrick Rose Injury: Is Tom Thibodeau to Blame for the Torn ACL?

Peter OwenCorrespondent IIApril 29, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28:  Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls is examined after suffering an injury against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 28, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the 76ers 103-91. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Derrick Rose walked the ball into the half-court, drove to the right side of the lane, executed a jump-stop, leaped and twisted in the air before coming back down in pain.

Somewhere in that, apparently on the jump-stop, Rose's bruised and beaten body finally gave up for the season. His left knee buckled inwards and his left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tore.

The first question on everyone's minds: Why on earth was Derrick Rose on the court with 70 seconds remaining in a 12-point game against a Philadelphia 76ers team that had not led since going ahead 3-0 on the first field goal of the playoffs?

It's a big question and I'll attempt to come from both sides of the debate: the 'he should be out there, he's a star' angle and the 'he shouldn't be out there, the game was won' way of thinking.



He should have been in the game:

Derrick Rose has had five separate injuries this season to his groin, ankle, toe, back and his foot. He missed 27 Regular Season games after missing just six in his first three years in the league.

The Bulls' 2012 Playoff success was always going to be determined by how Rose recovered from missing so much time. He had yet to develop much-needed chemistry with new shooting guard Richard "Rip" Hamilton.

So the argument is that Rose was on the floor late Saturday because he desperately needs as much playing time as possible. Rose played 36 minutes, an average amount for a superstar in the playoffs, and was nearing the end of an impressive game with 23 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

He should have been out there because he was showing signs of recovering his dominant best as he continually made Jrue Holliday look distinctly average. Hooking Rose early would have prevented him from being able to get used to playing again, get used to playing playoff-intensity basketball again and most importantly, it would have prevented him from learning how to play with Hamilton et al.

One big reason for keeping Rose out there: momentum.

In the playoffs, momentum is key and keeping the door slammed shut against underdogs is of the utmost importance. Keeping Rose on the floor would have prevented the Sixers from going on such a run.



Rose should NOT have been in the game:

There is a very legitimate argument to be made that Rose should have been sat on the bench with 70 seconds left to play.

The 76ers were posing no threat. Yes the lead was shrinking at the time, but no team, let alone one of the top defensive teams in the NBA, would let up a 12-point advantage in 70 seconds. The Bulls could have held the ball for 24 seconds, committed a 24-second violation and given the ball back and there would have been just 46 seconds left for the Sixers to score 12 unanswered points.

Rose was returning after those five separate injuries this season as he's been kind of snake-bitten since signing that contract extension. Why would you risk another setback after all that has gone on before this season?



My View:

I'd come down on the side that Rose should have been on the court. He's a basketball player being asked to play basketball. Tom Thibodeau cannot possibly have known that such a tragic injury was about to occur without hiring a psychic to predict the future.

Rose had to make the most of any available game time to get himself playoff-ready after a long, disrupted season. The Sixers were not posing a threat and Thibodeau would know that there would be little risk of a physical defender re-injuring Rose.

Essentially, Rose's injury was a freak injury, and they are just that: freak. They could happen in the first quarter or the fourth. It's incredibly unfortunate and could not have happened at a worse time or to a less undeserving person.

I'm a die-hard Chicago Bulls fan and for an hour or so after the full extent of the injury was known, I felt like basketball and sports had personally wronged me. I couldn't face watching any more of the playoffs and I will admit, I have never been more down in the dumps about sports.

But then I realized you can't hate this sport for long. The Chicago Bulls are a fantastic organization and have 13 of the most likable guys in the game wearing their uniforms. I'll still be watching and hoping.