Even if you're not a Chicago Bulls fan, most NBA fans would enjoy seeing Derrick Rose on the court again. It still may happen this year, as Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago.com implies Rose could be back next week or next year.
At this point, the Chicago Bulls would be wise to announce that the return will officially take place next season.
We're sitting in the middle of March and Rose has yet to play a game. Every day it seems there are reports that encourage and discourage those anxiously waiting on the star's return, but it's a little too late for Rose to make a major impact on the Bulls' bottom line.
Anyone that thinks this Bulls team is good enough to beat the Miami Heat—with or without Rose—is deceived. The Bulls have had so much regular season success over the last two-plus years, just making the playoffs, or reaching the Eastern Conference Finals isn't enough.
Rose doesn't feel he's ready to return, and whether you agree with his approach or not, there is no disputing that the daily "will he return" questions have become a distraction for the team.
The questions have also become a point of stress for Rose, and they routinely put him in a position that he's uncomfortable in.
Rose is not in his comfort zone when pressed to speak and publicly expressing his feelings. When you add the element of frustration into the equation, he's begun to paint himself in a bad light.
When information came out that Rose wasn't playing until he could comfortably dunk off his left leg (ESPN), it made many fans double take. That just didn't sound like the type of response one would expect from a player and competitor of Rose's caliber.
I'm not sure how much of that report was true, or what context it was said. But neither the Bulls nor Rose's camp should have ever let that leak. For perhaps the first time, Rose's reputation may have taken a hit with Bulls fans.
The Bulls have too much invested in their star to continue to allow him to hurt himself in the view of the public. They can shield him from this by shutting him down for the season. At this point, his return won't change how this season ends.
The Bulls need to take the decision out of his hands.
This entire situation is unfair to the players that are still playing. The organization should deliver the message to coach Tom Thibodeau and the players, that they will be going to battle without Rose for the remainder of the season and playoffs.
Nothing overwhelmingly positive can come from a return this season for Rose or the Bulls.