The Chicago Bulls must play out this season as if their superstar guard Derrick Rose will not return. This is the best strategy the team could have, given the uncertain date for a Rose return. What is also uncertain is whether there will be any possible lingering effects from his knee surgery. What's best for the team is that Rose feels as comfortable with his knee as possible.
In Rose’s own words, he is “far away” from where he needs to be.
According to an interview on USA Today, Rose mentioned that he would not play again until he is 110 percent. That is a bitter pill to swallow. Bulls' fans have been chomping at the bit, waiting for him to return.
Rose goes on to say in the interview:
I don't have a set date. I'm not coming back until I'm 110%. Who knows when that can be? It can be within a couple of weeks. It could be next year. It could be any day. It could be any time. It's just that I'm not coming back until I'm ready.
That is good for him. Derrick Rose sounds like he knows what is best for his future.
Derrick Rose's comments to USA Today sound like a superstar not wanting to come back until he can play at a dominating level again.— Mark Schanowski (@MarkSchanowski) February 12, 2013
A healthy Rose puts the Bulls in the best position to win an NBA title. Therefore, coming back too soon and risking further damage to his body while not winning the championship is a lose-lose-lose situation for everyone involved. In no way does Rose help himself by rushing back.
How it Hurts the Bulls
The Bulls have become a team that has a different contributor in every win. One night the hero could be two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng. The next game Joakim Noah will step up. Carlos Boozer, Marco Belinelli and Nate Robinson have also taken turns leading the charge. The Bulls have become a team in every sense of the word.
When should Rose return to the basketball court?
Rose rushing back could possibly damage that dynamic.
It is realistic to think that his Bulls teammates would take a backseat. They easily could fall into a false sense of security thinking that Rose has returned to save their season. It is a trap they must avoid when he does play again, regardless if that happens before the year is over, or at the start of next season. Any complacency from the other players forces Rose in the role of savior. A role that is unfair for him to fill at any time.
Several players on the teams must continue their efforts and win games as a unit. This is their only way.
Rose Could Re-Injure Himself
Rose could inflict more pain on himself if he comes back too soon. His surgically repaired knee may be in great shape, but other body parts have suffered.
It is common knowledge that when you hurt yourself, you overcompensate for that injury by using other parts of your body. This weakens those muscles and or limbs while the damages heal.
How much torque has Rose placed on his back while rehabbing his torn ACL? Despite #thereturn videos we have watched, chronicling his comeback trail, we are not in the workout facilities with Rose. Most of us have no clue what it takes to bounce back from this injury, especially when it is your job to cut, jump and run. Many of us are not doctors.
We are fans. We are also skeptics.
If Rose is not at least 100 percent and he comes back, only to re-injure himself, we will blame Bulls’ management, coaching staff, trainers and team doctors for allowing him to play too soon. Adversely, if he does not return this season, the moment the Bulls are eliminated from the NBA playoffs, we will blame them for not pushing Rose harder to play again.
It is a double-edged sword.
Can the Bulls Win the NBA Title With Rose Rushing Back?
Are the Bulls contenders to win the title this season? Winning the NBA championship is not likely without a healthy Derrick Rose. Rose is not healthy if he is only at 80 percent. His return enhances the Bulls' chances, but their chances are greater the longer he waits.
If Rose continues to rehab and winds up at “110 percent” in late March, are the Bulls at an advantage or a disadvantage? After all, they are in a winnable Central Division where they are neck-and-neck with the Indiana Pacers. If they continue to win games, they will be in the hunt for a favorable playoff seeding.
Rose at full-strength places the Bulls in a position to win immediately. Coming back too early, just for the sake of coming back, is a wasted proposition that neither he, nor the Bulls will see a benefit from.
It would mean that rehab is over for Rose. He would never reach full-strength at any point if that were to happen.
We must trust Derrick Rose, as he knows best. He and the Chicago Bulls will be better for it. As we were always told, the best things come to those who wait.