Chicago Bulls fans waiting for Derrick Rose to return this season may be in for a disappointment. In an interview with Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago, the team's star point guard hinted that he may not suit up for a game until next season and if you ask this writer, it's the right decision.
"I really don't know," he said. "I'm feeling good, but like I said, if it's where it's taking me a long time and I'm still not feeling right, I don't mind missing this year."
Rose said he would like to play this season but isn't sure if his body will heal in time.
"I would love to," he said. "I would love to. That's why I approached my rehab and my workout so hard. I'm trying to get back on the court as quickly as possible, but if I have anything lingering on, it's no point."
Bulls fans may be very upset with the idea of not seeing Rose play at all this season, and it's understandable why they would be. Chicago is currently the No. 5 team in the Eastern Conference, but ranks just 27th in points scored with 93.1 per game. Having Rose back in the lineup would greatly help the team's offense, not to mention make them a stronger contender in the playoffs.
But a Rose that isn't fully healthy is of no use to Chicago right now. Keep in mind that he suffered his torn ACL in last year's playoffs, after a lockout-shortened season that saw him miss 26 games due to various injuries, and the top-ranked Bulls sunk due to not having a viable backup at the point.
This season, that isn't the case. Chicago brought back Kirk Hinrich via free agency last summer to help plug the hole at the point and while he has been a general disappointment, another man has stepped up.
Believe it or not, Nate Robinson has started to play more like a point guard and less like a scorer/shooter in recent games. In the month of February, he has averaged 15.6 points, eight assists and 1.7 steals per contest. Chicago may only be 2-5 this month, but Robinson stepping up his effort and willingness to get more involved on offense is a good sign for the Bulls.
The fact of the matter is that as frustrating as it may be to hear Rose say how he's not coming back until he's fully healthy, it's hard to argue that he's wrong. ACL injuries are no joke, and it doesn't make sense for the former MVP to rush back onto the court when he is still unable to dunk. Should he do that and injure his knee again, the Bulls can kiss their championship hopes goodbye.
Rather, sitting out the rest of the season is probably the best thing that Rose can do. He himself has admitted that he's a long way off from returning to action and with the season halfway over already, there is no guarantee that his return will lead the Bulls to a championship this season.
Rose should instead spend the rest of the season getting back into game shape and preparing for 2013-14. The Bulls' current roster will still likely be intact, give or take a couple of players, and Rose's history with his teammates will help Chicago get back to the top of the Eastern Conference where it belongs.
At that point, a fully healthy Rose and the rest of the Bulls can finally come together and fully pursue that ever-elusive championship.
Should Rose come back too early this year, Bulls fans might as well prepare for disappointment once again.