Chicago Bulls Must Not Give Up on Derrick Rose's Return for Playoffs

Alex KayCorrespondent IApril 14, 2013

Mar 23, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose (1) warms up prior to a game against the Indiana Pacers at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor

The atmosphere surrounding the Chicago Bulls has been grim as of late, with the latest report (via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune) on Derrick Rose’s status anything but optimistic.

According to the reporter, the likelihood that the superstar will sit out the remainder of the 2012-13 campaign—including the playoffs—is “all but a certainty” at this point.

It wasn’t completely unexpected, as the original timetable for a recovery was eight to 12 months from the date of the procedure. A training camp return would still put the point guard within that frame.

However, Rose has not been officially ruled out and there’s always the possibility that the 2011 MVP feels mentally ready to participate in an NBA contest. He’s been medically cleared to do so since mid-February and has been partaking in five-on-five scrimmages with his teammates in practice.

The latest from coach Tom Thibodeau was also somewhat positive. The third-year head coach said (as per Johnson): "Derrick has put a ton into his rehab. He really has. He gives you maximum effort every day. There's nothing more he could really do. Once he feels ready, he'll go."

When asked if it would have been better to have just declared D-Rose out at the beginning of the 2012-13 campaign, Thibs stated that management and the training staff still isn’t completely sure that the 24-year-old is done: "They were just being forthright. That's what everyone thought. We didn't know, and we still don't know. We were just being honest."

While the general consensus has shifted towards Rose not making an appearance, the Bulls could certainly help him feel more ready this spring by winning some games in the playoffs.

Chicago is likely nabbing the No. 5 or No. 6 seed, facing either the Indiana Pacers or Brooklyn Nets. Both opponents will be tough, but certainly beatable by a Bulls team that has gone 43-36 without the star thus far.

If the Bulls advance to the second round and start winning some games there, perhaps D-Rose will begin feeling more mentally ready to return and try to help his team reach the NBA Finals.

It would be hard for the All-Star point guard to resist a chance at glory and—more importantly—capturing a ring. Many feel the offensive firepower he provides is the missing piece between Chicago exiting in the first or second round and contending with the Miami Heat for the conference championship.

While it’s unlikely at this point, it wouldn’t be completely far fetched to see Rose out there in the second round of the postseason—if his Bulls can get there.