Derrick Rose has finally been medically cleared to play basketball once again. However, he must not rush his return to the game.
According to Melissa Isaacson of ESPN Chicago, Rose was medically cleared to play after 10 months of recovery from a torn ACL. The news is huge for the Chicago Bulls who have been playing without their superstar all season.
The Bulls, and Rose, must be very delicate in handling this return. Luckily, they are doing just that. Isaacson went on in her piece to say:
Rose, who had surgery to repair a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on May 12, has been videotaped dunking off each foot, but more casually than he would during a game. A source said that although he has been practicing and scrimmaging hard, he told the Bulls that until he feels "in his mind" he can confidently dunk off his left foot in a game situation, he is not 100 percent mentally ready to return to competition.
It seems that Rose is taking the safer approach, and that is a smart decision for all parties. The Bulls have been playing just fine without him, and they must focus on Rose’s long-term health instead of getting him back as soon as possible.
Even without Rose, the Bulls have a 34-27 record, good enough for the sixth spot in the East. While the organization certainly would like to be higher in the standings, having a spot in the playoffs despite the absence of your best player certainly has to be a good sign.
The Bulls have a number of players who have done well without Rose in the lineup. Luol Deng has been the Bulls’ leading scorer, averaging 16.4 points per game. Nate Robinson has done a solid job as the starting point guard. He may only be 5’9’’, but his play speaks for itself, averaging 11.6 points and 4.1 assists per game. Carlos Boozer has become a true leader for the team, leading by example and scoring 15.4 points per game.
With 21 games remaining, bringing back Rose early wouldn’t be a good idea. Being safe and not bringing him back until he is 100 percent will be the best thing that they can do. They have plenty of good players that can carry the load for a few more games until Rose is finally ready to start playing again. While the regular season is important, nothing is more important than having a healthy Rose back for a playoff push.