At this point, was there anyone left who expected Derrick Rose to return to the Bulls this season?
Those dreams of him returning and leading a magical playoff run needed a foundation to be laid — he would have needed to return for roughly the last 10 games of the regular season. He needs to shake the rust off, teammates have to get used to playing with him again, rotations need to be adjusted and adjusted to. You don’t just plug him in and all is well.
Of course, officially the Bulls are leaving the door open because they have to in case Rose has a change of heart. But nobody expects it.
Now that Rose sitting out all season is all but a certainty, the Bulls and Rose have drawn some criticism. Asked in light of that whether the Bulls should have just declared Rose out for the season last fall, coach Tom Thibodeau shrugged.
“They were just being forthright,” Thibodeau said of management and team physician Brian Cole. “That’s what everyone thought. We didn’t know, and we still don’t know. We were just being honest.”
Rose was medically cleared to play back on Feb. 18 but he hasn’t felt comfortable enough yet to return.
And that’s his call. Not the fans’. Not the media’s. Rose and Rose alone gets to make that call and he can make it on his schedule. If you’re saying “his hurdles are mental” I will say “so what?” They are his hurdles, he clearly doesn’t think he can go out and play like his old self yet. He doesn’t fully trust that knee (and he may or may not have physical pain still, we don’t know). It’s his call to return.
From the day of the surgery last May there was a possibility he could miss the entire season. We knew that. Would it have been better for fans for him to just say a few weeks ago “I’m not coming back this season?” Sure. Probably better for the team, too, so they can stop answering these questions. But in the end it’s still his call.
Rose is 24 and a league MVP, one of the handful of genuine franchise anchors in the NBA you can build a contender around. You give him latitude if you’re Chicago. Because when he comes back next fall, you’re title contenders again.
Carmelo Anthony had Rose’s back speaking to the media before the Bulls went out and ended the Knicks 13-game win streak. ‘Melo said reporters need to stop rushing Rose back.
“What’s two more months going to do?” Anthony said. “I don’t think he should come back, and that’s just my opinion.”