Star point guard Derrick Rose's return to the Chicago Bulls this season may indeed be critical to their performance both down the stretch and in the playoffs, but his getting back in the lineup means nothing if his confidence is not at 110 percent, perhaps even higher.
Speaking to Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago, Rose stated that his skills before his infamous ACL tear were back but confidence was the sole remaining issue, and he would take his time in getting it back. Rose tore his ACL on April 28 and underwent surgery on May 12.
I think I can do everything, it's just me having the confidence to do it. Just me feeling normal.
I really don't know [about a return this season]. I'm just like you all where I'm waiting till that day where I feel normal.
Until then I would just wait. I haven't had any pressure from the organization and no one else to push me to go out there and play. My teammates have been doing great with just playing hard for me. They're still out there playing hard, fighting, so that's a good sign and we're winning games, so I'm not worried about anything right now.
Rose also spoke to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune and gave another take on when he would be back on the court.
K.C. Johnson @KCJHoop
DRose: "When I’m out there not thinking and just reacting, that’s how I know I’ll be ready."2013-3-12 19:19:19
Needless to say, as much as Bulls fans would love to see Rose get back on the court ASAP, his approach is right. If his confidence is not at its highest, there is no sense in him rushing back, trying to do too much and potentially reinjuring himself in the process.
Just look at what happened this season with Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, who broke his hand during the preseason. Not only did he rush back after missing just a month, but his stats clearly showed it.
Before he re-fractured his hand in January, Love was averaging 18.3 points and 14 rebounds per game. Those numbers may look good, but the percentages were downright ugly.
In 18 games this season, Love shot just 35 percent from the field and 22 percent from long range, not to mention 71 percent from the free-throw line. Considering how his respective career marks are 45, 35 and 81 in each of those stats, one can see how he obviously rushed his return before getting his mechanics back at 100 percent.
That said, while it may be frustrating knowing that Rose's knee is fully recovered and the star point guard still isn't set to suit up any time soon, just look at what happened when Love rushed back.
The fact is that Rose realizes he is of no use to a struggling Bulls offense if he isn't feeling fully confident with his abilities, so there is no reason he should step back on the court until he feels he can be his old self again. Chicago's greatest issue right now is scoring, and what good is having Rose back now if he cannot penetrate or create with ease?
The former MVP thus needs to focus less on getting back in the lineup and more on getting his skills back. The Bulls have a great deal of potential to do great things once their star point guard returns, but that won't become a reality if he himself feels he is incapable of accomplishing that.