The Chicago Bulls are preparing to play the Brooklyn Nets in Game 3 of their first-round series in the 2013 Eastern Conference playoffs. Once again, they will be without superstar point guard Derrick Rose, as has been the case all season.
At this point, those still expecting D-Rose to walk through that door, suit up and see the floor for the first time this season are bordering on delusional.
It’s been more than a month since the 2011 MVP was medically cleared to participate in NBA games, but the PG refuses to return to the court until he’s mentally ready to play. At this juncture, it’s impossible to see that breakthrough coming until the start of the 2013-14 campaign.
It’s been nearly a year since Rose infamously tore the ACL in his left knee in the waning moments of the Bulls' first game during the 2012 playoffs, which is technically still inside the original timetable set when he underwent surgery last May.
However, even if Chicago advances and finds itself playing next month, it’s not likely that Rose will suddenly decide he’s ready—especially with so much to lose and little to gain.
If the star’s return isn’t triumphant and he has some rust on his game—which seems inevitable at this point—he’s not going to be a great boon to the Bulls’ already minuscule chances of winning a title.
He’ll then endure an offseason of criticism and questioning (“Is D-Rose still the same after the injury? Will he ever return to MVP form?”), rather than speculation on how he will perform upon his debut in fall 2013.
While neither is preferable to analyzing Rose’s hypothetical star showing in the postseason, the window of opportunity for that scenario has been all but closed. By not returning prior to the playoffs and getting some reps in, the 24-year-old didn’t position himself properly for a successful comeback.
The only thing to do now is remain patient and hope that the young superstar can get his mind right and be ready for the upcoming season. It’s not ideal, but that’s the situation in Chicago.