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When Rose sat down with Rachel Nichols he said something that set the basketball world to discussing the possibility that he might not return this year. As reported by ESPN Chicago, Rose said,
"Everybody has their own opinions. When the time comes I just have to be ready and prove to the people here that I am ready to play. Who knows when that time is? If it's all year I might wait the whole year, so what? If I come back at the All-Star (break), so what?"
Any human being with a modicum of reading comprehension does not take a look at that and derive from it, "I'm not coming back this year." He is saying that he is coming back when he is ready to play. The evidence is in the words, "When the time comes I just have to be ready and prove to the people here that I am ready to play."
Rose is saying the exact opposite of the way people are taking it. He is saying that his health will dictate the timeline and not be dictated by an arbitrary timeline.
And where is his health at? According to the same article,
"Rose has said he is ahead of schedule and is now running, shooting and jumping. He expects to begin cutting in another week. Bulls general manager Gar Forman told 'Waddle & Silvy' on Thursday that he is optimistic Rose will play this season."
"Ahead of schedule" and "play this season" hardly are congruent with "sit out the season." People who are armchair doctoring really need to find something better to do with their time and let Derrick Rose, his doctors and trainers and the Chicago Bulls work out when he is 100 percent.
There is no controversy over whether he should wait until he is 100 percent. Rose, his doctors, the Bulls, Gar Forman, Jerry Reinsdorf, Charlie Chaplin, Donald Duck and every Bulls fan in the world is in agreement there.
The question is whether he should sit around twiddling his thumbs until the magic date arbitrarily set by certain fans and analysts with absolutely no medical background arrives.
Rose will return when he's 100 percent and not a day earlier, but there's not a single good reason for him to continue to wait after he is. The fact that his doctors have said he is ahead of schedule means that speculating a return a month behind the earliest possible return is relatively conservative.
That would put his return shortly after the All-Star break, around the 50 game mark. The Bulls have won 85 percent of their games when Rose, Noah, Boozer and Deng have played together. Assuming just a 75 percent win mark that would put the Bulls at 24-8 after Rose returned.
That would mean that the Bulls would only need to go 26-24 over their first 50 games. Considering they won 67 percent of their games without Rose last year, that's a conservative estimate. Even if you argue that the 24-8 is too friendly, it balances out.
If the Bulls won only 60 percent of their games (still lower than how they performed last year without Rose) they would only need to go 20-12 after Rose returns.
In fact, a 50-win projection is relatively conservative. Anything short of that is just (in my best Stephan A. Smith voice) dis-re-SPECT-ful!