It has been more than a year since Chicago Bulls superstar point guard Derrick Rose tore his ACL during the playoffs. He has yet to return to action, and his presence has become a distraction more than a motivating force for the team.
Rose was cleared to play by a doctor back in March, but nearly two months later he remains on the shelf. The Bulls have allowed Rose to take a cautious approach as the organization obviously doesn't want to jeopardize its best player's health, but there has been so much talk about Rose that it has clouded Chicago's playoff run.
The Bulls currently hold a 3-2 lead over the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs and have received gargantuan efforts from the likes of Nate Robinson and a hobbled Joakim Noah. After the Bulls' thrilling three-overtime win against the Nets in Game 4, it seemed as though the main topic of conversation was whether Chicago's effort would inspire Rose to return.
Rose's injury has even caused some locals to turn on him and question his toughness. According to Dime Magazine, CBS Chicago has given Bulls fans an open forum to vent and goad Rose into playing regardless of whether or not he is ready to.
Chicago radio station encouraging fans to pressure Derrick Rose into playing before he's ready: tinyurl.com/bukmszu— Dime Magazine (@DimeMag) May 2, 2013
The presumptuous prompt reads like this:
It’s been over one year since Derrick Rose’s ACL tear and over two months since doctors cleared him to play.
Still, the former MVP of the league refuses to leave his post on the Bulls bench. Meanwhile, the hobbled Bulls continue to fight on against the Nets in Round 1 of the NBA playoffs.
Frustrated? Here’s your chance to express your feelings to Rose.
In the space below, write an open letter to the face of the Bulls franchise. Yell at him, plead with him, convince him – this is your chance to say whatever it is you want to say to Derrick Rose.
There are definitely fans out there who support Rose and believe that he is doing the right thing by not rushing, but CBS Chicago is playing to the contingent that believes Rose isn't giving it his all for the betterment of the team. The fact of the matter is that nobody knows how Rose feels except Rose himself, so it's unfair to judge him.
Should the Bulls officially shut down Rose for the remainder of the season?
Through no fault of his own, Rose has become a major distraction. Because of how quickly some athletes have returned from ACL injuries in recent years there was an expectation that Rose would be back at some point during the regular season and that he would immediately return to MVP form.
That hasn't happened, so there has naturally been some backlash. Even some of the most level-headed and mild-mannered people in the sport have begun to question Rose. According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, TNT broadcaster and former Bull Steve Kerr expressed the notion that Rose should play if he's able because so many of his teammates are playing through the pain.
Rose was once a beloved figure in Chicago, but he has become a punchline of sorts over the past couple months. This humorous MLB meme compares Rose to baseball's perennial doormat, the Chicago Cubs. It has been quite a fall from grace for the man who was once considered the savior of the Bulls' franchise.
It would be unfair to suggest that Rose shouldn't be with his teams during the games because he obviously wants to lend support, but the notion of a potential comeback should be squashed. The Bulls haven't yet ruled out Rose for the playoffs because they want to keep their options open, but it has really complicated matters.
If the Bulls come out and say that Rose is definitively out for the playoffs it will create a firestorm at first, but the matter would finally be over and done with until next season. The Bulls need to focus on winning games in the playoffs and they don't need this Rose sideshow any longer.
Rose shouldn't be rushed back if he isn't ready, but the fans shouldn't be given false hope either. The charade has gone on long enough, and Rose should be shut down for the remainder of the season.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter