Should Derrick Rose have played this season? That is a question that has created not only a national buzz in the sports world, but a local one as well.
With Rose being medically cleared to play for some time now, the same fans who once adored the former MVP are now calling into radio stations questioning why he is not on the floor battling in the playoffs along with his teammates.
This angle has gained additional momentum after teammate Joakim Noah, who is playing with plantar fasciitis and can barely walk, gave an all-out effort with 11 points and 10 rebounds in Game 2, to help Chicago even up its playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets at one game apiece.
Despite what most people may think, there are logical reasons as to why Rose’s return to the court does not make sense at this point in time. Here is a look at a couple of them.
Lack of confidence
Rose has already admitted that the last hurdle he has to clear is a mental one, not a physical one. Some may take this statement to mean he is simply scared, but I beg to differ.
Think about this for a second. Rose was one of the best players in the league at what he does. He is a capable scorer and a quality playmaker as his 21 points and 6.8 assists per game averages indicate.
But what sets Rose apart from his peers is the style of his game. He constantly drove to the basket without fear, twisting and contorting his body in ways that few athletes are capable of doing.
After suffering such a devastating injury, it is only natural to have doubts as to whether or not his body can hold up to the explosive level he had become so accustomed to playing at.
Simply put, if Rose is on the court thinking about his knee rather than reacting to the game going on around him, he would be doing a disservice to himself and his teammates as well.
Former players who suffered knee injuries
One of the reasons people feel that Rose should have returned by now is because current players such as Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Iman Shumpert of the New York Knicks suffered the same injury and have since come back to play for their respective teams.
However, these comparisons do not have much merit because their style of play is different from Rose’s.
What does make for a compelling argument is referencing former players who were explosive guards that had to come back from knee injuries.
Michael Wilbon of ESPN Chicago recently wrote a piece on this very topic.
In the article he discusses how Gilbert Arenas blew out his knee six seasons ago and was determined to come back from the injury in less than a year. As a result, Arenas is now playing in China at 31 years of age, and it is likely that his days in the NBA are behind him.
Mr. Wilbon also talks about Anfernee Hardaway—the former Orlando Magic point guard who was on the cusp of doing great things before a knee injury slowed him down.
Hardaway did come back, but additional knee problems prevented him from the being the impact player he had been during his first four seasons in the league.
One could only imagine what may have been if Hardaway had opted to be more patient and sat out longer instead of continuing to play, which led to further complications.
Based on these examples, it is more than understandable why Rose is not quite ready to declare himself ready to handle the physical grind of an NBA game.
The arguments and counterarguments on this topic are endless, but in the final analysis, every individual has to do what he thinks is right for him in the long term.
That being said, Rose should be given credit for looking at his career from a big-picture perspective instead of being criticized for exercising caution.
So while it may be frustrating for fans to see the other Bulls players out on the court while Rose is cheering from the bench, the young man did make the right decision in deciding to sit out until he feels comfortable that he can play at the level he was at prior to the injury.