Back in March Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose got cleared to play by his doctor. It was during the 2012 playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers that he tore his anterior cruciate ligament.
Recently CBSSports.com National Columnist Gregg Doyel stated in an article “It’s not about his heart or his head, either. Not anymore. The Derrick Rose Watch, pretty much the leading storyline of the 2013 NBA playoffs, is about his eyes. As in, how can he look at his teammates?”
He further goes on to state “at some point, pride has to take over. Or humiliation. Whatever it takes to get Rose to acknowledge that what is happening around him — what is happening to him — is the erosion of a reputation. Rose has always been one of the more likeable players in the NBA, star or otherwise, but this is different. This isn’t about him being humble or gracious. This is about him still not playing, a year after surgery on a torn ACL and months after doctors cleared him.“
In the 2011-2012 season Rose missed 27 games due to injury. He averaged 21.9 points, 7.9 assists, 3.4 rebounds on 43.5 percent shooting, 31.2 percent from beyond the arc and 81.2 percent from the free throw line. What makes him an effective scorer and distributor is his ability to drive to the basket or find the open teammate.
One of his inherent weaknesses has always been his shooting and so far in his career he shoots 31 percent from the three-point line.
While he has practiced with the Bulls since he got cleared, Rose has yet to play in a game. There’s been rumors that he’d return for the 2013 playoffs and then against the Miami Heat after their first round series win over the Brooklyn Nets. Still no signs that he will play and there’s a reason for that.
Rose is not mentally ready to play. For a player who relies on his ability to attack the basket with authority he must feel comfortable cutting and landing on the knee. Any tentativeness brings a greater risk of injury.
As for Doyel’s assertion in regards to not being able to look his teammates in the eye here’s what Joakim Noah had to say “If you tore your ACL and you have to be the starting point guard and have the expectations that Derrick has, then maybe you can judge, but everybody who hasn’t been in that situation before should really shut up because I feel like it’s just so unfair to him and to this team.“
Coach Tom Thibodeau stated “He’s not quite there, and we made that clear to him from the beginning. We’re going to support him in every way possible. I would never question him. Ever.”
Also, Kirk Hinrich who is currently battling an injury of his own said “I haven’t heard one ill word said about it. You give a guy that has that type of character the benefit of the doubt. We know he’s such a big part of this organization and this team that we trust he’s making the right decision for that and for himself.“
Whether it’s Bulls fans being frustrated about him not playing, columnists like Doyel questioning how teammates view him, there’s one thing for sure he’s got the support of his teammates and the Bulls organization isn’t going to sacrifice its franchise player for the present.
Guaranteed if Rose suffered a serious injury there’s no doubt the question would become why not wait until next season? At least he’ll be physically and mentally prepared to play.