The long and winding Derrick Rose saga appears to be over for this season, and while Chicago Bulls fans are probably disappointed that Rose has been all but ruled out of the playoffs, it was ultimately the right decision for Rose and the franchise.
According to Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau ruled Rose out of Game 1 against the Brooklyn Nets and said that Rose is unlikely to return during the playoffs at all. Thibodeau didn't totally shut the door on Rose returning, but he certainly doesn't sound optimistic.
He's most likely out but you never know, Thibodeau said. The playoffs are stretched out, too, so you have to factor that in. So who knows another week from now where he is? You always want to leave that possibility open.
Things haven't really changed for Rose since he was cleared to play by a doctor in March, so it's hard to believe that anything will be different moving forward. Rose obviously isn't comfortable enough to play, so he shouldn't be pressed into action.
Rose hasn't played since tearing his ACL against the Philadelphia 76ers in the playoffs last season, so throwing him into the fire against Brooklyn would be asking a lot. Had Rose been able to play in a couple regular-season games then that would be one thing, but making him return in a pressure-packed environment would be a recipe for disaster.
As most Bulls fans realize, Rose has to play with a certain amount of explosiveness and reckless abandon to be effective. That style allowed him to win the Most Valuable Player Award a couple years ago and it could very well help him win more in the future. With that said, Rose is in no position to utilize that style of play right now.
If Rose comes back in the playoffs, there is a good chance that he'll be reluctant to drive to the basket and will decide to settle for jumpers. That simply isn't his game and he wouldn't be a big help to the Bulls. Chicago has done a really nice job without him this season, and even though his teammates would love to have him back, they know that they can win to a certain degree without him.
The Bulls took three of four matchups from the Nets during the regular season and can absolutely advance to the second round without Rose. Whether Rose plays or not, however, the Bulls simply aren't going to beat the Miami Heat or New York Knicks. Those teams have been great all year and are destined to play each other in the Eastern Conference finals.
Perhaps next year Chicago will be a true factor in the Eastern Conference, but this isn't the Bulls' year. The best course of action at this point is allowing Rose to rest up through the offseason so he can be definitively ready to go during training camp next season.
Coming back now would be a huge injury risk, and there is no point in jeopardizing yet another season when this one is nearly over. The Bulls obviously shouldn't give up on this season since anything can technically happen, but the writing is on the wall.
It would take a superhuman effort to beat the Heat, but it isn't worth putting Rose in harm's way. Detractors will continue to question Rose's toughness and the Bulls' handling of the situation, but when push comes to shove, everyone involved approached things cautiously, as they should have.
Rose is one of the best players in the NBA when he is healthy, so the No. 1 priority for the Bulls should be ensuring that he is 100 percent healthy in the near future.
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