By now, you know the story.
Rose, who tore his left ACL against the Philadelphia 76ers during the NBA playoffs last April, was cleared to play in early March. But he wasn't ready. He wanted to dunk off his surgically repaired left leg first.
Then he dunked off his surgically repaired left leg in early April. Again, no return.
Now that the regular season is over, and Darko Milicic continues to sit just above Rose in the "minutes played" category, paranoia is rising to all-new heights. Critics have questioned the former MVP's dedication, motivation and ability.
Based almost purely on the fact that he was publicly cleared to play and hasn't yet played, he's seen as scared. Or weak. Or a coward.
And it's all cockamamie.
Should Rose return in the playoffs
Just because Rose has passed the minimum physical requirements for a doctor to clear him doesn't mean he's mentally ready. He's a player who relies on athleticism and explosiveness, and pushing yourself before you're ready can be either catastrophic or result in mediocre production that hurts the team.
Not every single athlete can return from a major knee injury like Adrian Peterson. That man is an anomalous machine, not the norm.
The circumstances surrounding Rose are certainly damning on the surface. He has been out for nearly a year, while others have returned from the same injury much sooner, and those around him are saying he's good to go. But no one but the electrifying guard himself knows how he feels or how his knee truly responds to intense activity.
To criticize someone who is being cautious and concentrating on his future without fully knowing all of the details is both lazy and unnecessary.
Derrick Rose will return to an NBA game when Derrick Rose is ready, and that's all that should matter.