If he does come back for the Bulls' playoff run, he would quiet the critics that have questioned his toughness, per David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.
Rose has worked to return from the torn ACL he suffered in last season's first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The knee injury occurred on the same day New York Knicks' guard Iman Shumpert tore his ACL. Shumpert returned on Jan. 17, but Rose's recovery has obviously taken much longer.
If Rose were to return during the postseason, it would appear to me that this may have been the plan all along. That would likely take some of the heat off the Bulls star.
Despite the fact that every person heals and recovers at a different pace, Rose and Shumpert are in two different situations.
While Shumpert is a promising young player, Rose is the cornerstone of the Bulls franchise. There is a difference.
The team's handling of Rose and his own mental approach must be more calculated to preserve the commodity that is his exceptional athleticism.
Some fans may feel a bit let down that Rose hasn't played all season—especially amidst reports that the doctors have cleared him to play—per Melissa Isaacson of ESPN.
Rose's comments about only God knowing when he'd return could have frustrated some as well, as Peggy Kusinski and Lisa Balde of NBC Chicago reported.
But if he returns for the Bulls' first-round series, or better yet for the last two games of the regular season, all will be forgotten.
If the Bulls maintain their spot in the Eastern Conference standings, they will likely face the Brooklyn Nets in the first round.
They handled the Nets well during the regular season. They have taken three-of-four against them without Rose, and though that means nothing in the postseason, I'd like their chances with Rose on the floor.
In the end, all Bulls fans care about is beating the Heat and hopefully playing in the NBA Finals. There is no doubt that having Rose on the floor in the playoffs gives them their best chance.
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