The Chicago Bulls have managed to persevere without star point guard Derrick Rose all season, but there’s no doubt they are a stronger team with him in the lineup. The former NBA MVP is one of the most dynamic players in the game and is considered by most to be the league’s best floor general.
Many were worried he wouldn’t be the same player after tearing his ACL a year ago, but those same concerned fans still aren’t sure if he is the same Rose or not because he hasn’t played a game since.
What’s interesting about his situation is now – almost a full year since his injury – he has been cleared to play by doctors, but in the past month or so, he hasn’t wanted to because he’s not mentally ready.
This has outraged some Bulls fans, especially since Chicago is now engaged in a seven-game playoff series with the league’s best team – the defending champion Miami Heat. How could he sit idly by when his team needs him the most?
Most players’ competitive nature forces them onto the court or field the moment they are cleared by medical staff, sometimes even sooner. Still, many not only respect Rose’s decision to wait until next season, but many think it’s a smart move.
After all, we’ve seen far too many players cause more serious injuries, sometimes career threatening injuries, by returning too soon, especially coming off something as serious as an ACL tear.
Then again, it’s hard to remember someone simply not wanting to play or not being mentally ready, especially a competitor of Rose’s caliber.
Needless to say, the critics have come out in full force against Rose’s decision, but fortunately for him, his teammates have had his back the entire time.
Here’s what Joakim Noah had to say when fielding questions about Rose this week, according to ESPN.com:
“Derrick’s a brother,” Noah said. “And to see him go through this is tough, but at the end of the day it’s really funny how quick people are to judge. But people don’t know what it’s like to lead a team, especially after you tore your ACL.
“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. We’re fighting, and everybody’s going to just s— on somebody who’s been giving so much to this organization. It’s crazy to me.”
Recently Rose has said a return this season is still possible, which has stirred the pot with fans and pundits even more. Supposedly, he’s still waiting to be 100% mentally ready, but if he waits too long, the Bulls’ chances at a 2013 NBA title could be over.
So, now we ask you: Should Rose return this season to help the Bulls. And when? Or should he stick to his guns and come back when he’s ready next year?