That’s just a reality now for Chicago Bulls supporters and basketball fans everywhere. After all, he missed the vast majority of the past two seasons and three playoffs for the Bulls, and we were potentially robbed of some classic showdowns between Chicago and the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference.
The injuries may be in the past, but caution should still be the operative word with Rose (especially in August) with an ever-important future looming.
Some of that natural worry popped up again Tuesday, and Comcast Sportsnet Chicago pointed out why:
The United States takes on the Dominican Republic Wednesday in an exhibition contest at Madison Square Garden. For now, Rose is still scheduled to play in that contest, although he may not start like he did against Brazil in the first exhibition because his knee soreness forced him to miss practice.
For all the concern that surrounds Rose’s health, the man himself didn’t seem particularly worried, via Tim Casey of the Chicago Tribune (subscription required):
There's nothing wrong with rest. It ain't like it's the season. I'm not worried about it.
I'm really, really happy with where I'm at right now health-wise (and) recovering very quickly. I'm just trying to take my time and get rest because we have a long schedule ahead of us — just try to get as much rest as possible.
Jerry Colangelo added more context to the situation, via John Schuhmann of NBA.com:
Rose and Colangelo are exactly right, there is nothing wrong with rest right now. He looked explosive but rusty in the 24 minutes he played against Brazil and clearly needs some live action, but his overall health is much more important.
Both he and the coaching staff (that just so happens to include Bulls head man Tom Thibodeau) should recognize this and sit him out Wednesday. After all, it’s just an exhibition game against an Al Horford-less Dominican Republic squad and ultimately has no bearing on the actual World Cup.
Plus, the United States is not going to lose, even if Rose does miss the game. It still has Kyrie Irving to fill in, and he would probably be the best player on the vast majority of the other teams competing in the event.
The risk versus reward ratio is balanced far too heavily toward risk if Mike Krzyzewski plays Rose Wednesday. There are still more exhibition games down the road before the event begins that Rose can play in.
It is much more important that the Bulls point guard is ready to go for the actual World Cup and the 2014-15 NBA season. He is one of five projected starters for the squad alongside Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kenneth Faried and Anthony Davis and will be asked to carry much of the load.
Once the World Cup begins, the Red, White and Blue play five games in six days before the round of 16. With so many marquee players either injured (Paul George) or no longer on the team (Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love) and a loaded schedule, there will be a heavy burden on Rose.
He brings valuable international experience to the table after playing in this event in 2010 and will be seen as one of the team leaders.
What’s more, Rose’s place on the Chicago Bulls is more important than ever this year given the chaotic NBA offseason. LeBron James left Miami and George unfortunately suffered a gruesome leg injury, which puts the Bulls right near the top of the Eastern Conference with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Chicago added Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic to a frontcourt that already features Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah. Still, it ultimately needs a healthy Rose spearheading the effort if it wants to knock James and the Cavs out in the playoffs.
With an incredibly important NBA season and a physically grueling schedule in the World Cup on the horizon, there is no need for Rose to push his knees just for an exhibition game Wednesday. There is just too much at stake.
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