Derrick Rose has faced a wash of criticism from fans and media about his elongated recovery from a knee injury, but the superstar point guard hasn't heard a word of it.
Conversing with K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Rose spoke at length for the first time during the 2013 NBA playoffs about his recovery. Noting that there is no change in his status, Rose said Saturday was the first time he had heard any criticism—and it doesn't bother him one bit.
DRose talked. No change in status. Said isn't aware of outside criticism and wouldn't bother him anyway because he's listening to his body.— K.C Johnson (@KCJHoop) May 4, 2013
The 2011 NBA MVP also had a parting blow for his brother, Reggie, who made waves by saying Derrick could return for Round 2:
DRose: "My brother and them can’t tell me what to do with my body. I’m in control of the whole process. It’s really all on me." #Bulls— K.C Johnson (@KCJHoop) May 4, 2013
Rose sat out the entire 2012-13 regular season and has missed each of the Bulls' six playoff games while recovering from a torn ACL. He suffered the injury during the Bulls' first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers in 2012, essentially ending Chicago's postseason run before it started.
Though a crushing blow to the Bulls at the time, the aftermath has been a never-ending series of starts and stops for the 24-year-old guard.
Chicago has managed to survive without its star, capturing the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and morphing into a team led almost wholly by defense. The Bulls have also had surprising success in the postseason, where they forced a Game 7 against the fourth-seeded Brooklyn Nets, which will take place on Saturday at the Barclays Center.
However, those triumphs have only come with continued lingering questions about Rose. Word leaked in March that doctors cleared him to play, but Rose has continued to sit out. That decision has led to discord among fans and media, who burrowed themselves in two separate camps about what Rose should do.
When do you think Derrick Rose will return for Bulls?
The criticism has only heightened during the postseason, especially with Chicago's roster riddled with injuries. Center Joakim Noah has played through the entire series with plantar fasciitis, while Luol Deng missed Game 6 and will miss Game 7 with an illness, per ESPN's Nick Friedell.
With a chance at advancing—and an opportunity to take down the Miami Heat in Round 2—many have wondered why Rose hasn't played through pain like his teammates.
Speaking with Johnson, Rose made it clear that wasn't an option. He said that he has to look at the long-term picture rather than make an in-the-now decision, saying he'll heal better by sitting out the entire 2013 postseason:
DRose: "If I do take the whole year off and don’t play anymore, I know I’m going to come back a better player. My body will be healed more."— K.C Johnson (@KCJHoop) May 4, 2013
DRose: "I know I’m going to be way, way better. Just having time to relax, be patient and fully heal, that’s the big picture right now."— K.C Johnson (@KCJHoop) May 4, 2013
It's a position Rose has held throughout the process. He's not returning until he feels 100 percent, and if that means missing the entire season, that's a cross he's willing to bear.
And if Rose's comments on Saturday are any indication, he'll be doing just fine if fans are unhappy about that decision.