Derrick hasn't left the bench all season.
Contrary to popular belief, recovering from an ACL injury is no easy feat (thanks, Adrian Peterson). Extensive rehab is necessary to ensure the ligament is properly repaired. Even more important than the physical treatment, however, is the mental fortitude that the athlete must possess. Something Derrick Rose is short of.
Sure, Dr. James Andrews called Peterson a sports miracle. But he also praised the mental determination that Peterson possessed, something that drove him to defy all odds and make his way back to the gridiron faster than anyone could have imagined.
Again, Rose does not possess that determination. Aside from being unquestioned superstars, there is no other real comparison between Peterson and Rose.
Guys like Peterson, Kobe Bryant and Robert Griffin III are just wired differently than Rose. They feel as if it is their responsibility, at all costs, to be in action as quickly as physically possible. They understand what they mean to their respective teams. Without them, there is no hope.
Derrick Rose understands as well. While the Chicago Bulls have rallied without their leader, any unbiased observer knows that no Rose means no title. Yet he remains planted on the bench, game after game, citing his mental health as the reason for his absence from the court.
Call me old school, but that is unacceptable. Rose was paid over $16 million this year to essentially be a cheerleader. Just as all other superstars attempt to resume action the moment their body is ready, so too should Rose have hit the court the moment he became an asset to his team. He’s on the floor practicing for an hour-and-a-half before each game for God’s sake!
Rose was medically cleared to play over two months ago, way back on March 8, to be exact. Two months have passed, but Rose isn’t playing. Did I miss something?
I understand the patience and caution that the Bulls management has taken with Rose. He is unquestionably their biggest asset, one of the few players in the league who can single-handedly win a playoff series. They want to protect their future. But when did the present become so dispensable?
By allowing Rose to be so overly cautious, they have declared this season as good as over. I love Joakim Noah. Nate Robinson, too. But if those are your two best players, you’re not beating the Miami Heat. Plain and simple, only a healthy Derrick Rose could pose a realistic challenge to the defending champs.
At this point, it’s time for the Bulls to declare him out for the rest of the playoffs. The silly charade that they have continued has gone far enough. He needed to return before the playoffs to have truly been an asset. A Derrick Rose with no in-game action this season does not strike fear in the hearts of Miami. They would probably welcome the discontinuity his return would bring.
This is not meant to be an indictment on Derrick Rose the player. It’s an indictment on Derrick Rose the person. Never have I seen a player of his caliber refuse to take the court out of fear. It would be one thing if he was still hurt. But he’s not. He was ready a long time ago. The great ones don’t do what Derrick Rose has done. As stated earlier, he’s not wired the same way.
That’s why there will be no Willis Reed moment these playoffs. Hell, there won’t even be a David Lee moment, for that matter.