Derrick Rose Would Be Wise to Delay Return Until Next Season

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVMarch 10, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 28:  Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls shoots while working out before the Bulls take on the Phildelphia 76ers at the United Center on February 28, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. 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

The Chicago Bulls are putting an incredible amount of pressure on Derrick Rose to return this season and help their hopes at making a deep playoff run, but it just doesn't add up. The star point guard has plenty of reasons to sit out the remainder of the 2012-13 season and return next year at 100 percent.

According to a report from ESPN's Melissa Isaacson, doctors cleared Rose to return to the court on Saturday. But the report also states the following:

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's one thing to be worried about re-injuring an injury as serious as a torn ACL, but it's another thing completely to be out of your game mentally. If Rose is not 100 percent when he comes back, he'll be doubting his abilities when it comes to attacking the rim and putting his explosive legs to the test. 

This is especially true for a player of Rose's breed. His torque is unlike any player's of his size, and his ability to explode through tight spaces and finish at the rim is what makes him the elite player he is.

If he can't confidently take off from his left foot to finish at the rim, a vast part of his game is missing. 

Plus, with the regular season ticking away, the physical nature of the game will only amplify as teams turn up the intensity level on the defensive side of the ball. Rose, healthy or not, will be pushed to the limit in the postseason, and he needs to be completely able physically to weather that storm.

Even when Rose isn't at his best, he's still likely one of the most physically prepared stars in the game. But are you going to risk the long-term fortune of your franchise on such a gamble?

Let's just go ahead and say that Rose comes back and is able to make the Bulls a somewhat better team. Then, what comes next?

The Miami Heat.

Whether Rose is at 100 percent or not, his Bulls pose no true threat to LeBron James and company. The Heat are just on another level at the moment, and no team in the Eastern Conference will be able to catch them.

If Rose's Bulls want to be a legitimate contender to Miami in the East next season and beyond, they'll sit their star for the remainder of the 2012-13 season and put all of their efforts toward surrounding a healthy Rose with the right team next year.