Tag: Chicago Bulls

Derrick Rose, Alex Len

Bulls front office hopeful Derrick Rose could play this season


Derrick Rose is scheduled to undergo right knee surgery on Friday, at which time Rose and the Bulls will have more clarity on his timetable to return. But various members of the Bulls’ front office spoke to reporters at a charity event on Thursday night and expressed serious optimism that we haven’t seen the last of him this season.

All of that is certainly encouraging. We obviously won’t have any answers until Rose actually has the surgery, but just the fact that management is so open about their hope that he plays this year is a promising sign. After everything Rose has been through in the last three years, you would think they would know better than to say something that puts any pressure on him to come back before he’s ready. They’ve been so careful with Rose up until now, and they still have so much money tied up in him over the next two seasons after this one, that it still makes no sense to rush him back.

What these comments from Paxson and Forman suggest is that Rose’s MRI really did show a tear that’s not as bad as the one he suffered last year. And in that case, it’s cause for celebration for everybody. It would still be a surprise if Rose played again this season, but it now sounds like it’s not completely impossible. Hopefully he’s able to play. The Bulls and the NBA are better off when he’s healthy.

Derrick Rose scheduled for surgery Friday, will have all or part of meniscus removed

Derrick Rose

We don’t know. There’s been a ton of speculation about the future of Derrick Rose — Is this injury not as severe? Is he headed down the path of Grant Hill and Penny Hardaway? — but the fact is we don’t know much about the severity of the injury. We don’t know recovery timetables.

But we will learn a lot about that Friday.

That’s when Rose will undergo this third knee surgery, the Bulls announced. More interestingly the Bulls said Rose would undergo a meniscectomy, which is a removal of part or all of the meniscus. That method is faster for recovery and means it is possible Rose could be back for part or all of the playoffs. However, we will not have a recovery timetable until after the surgery is complete.

Even if Rose could come back for the playoffs, it’s up for debate if he can lift them up much farther. First, he would just be coming back from surgery and — as we have seen with Rose recently and many other athletes before him — it takes a while for the player to trust that knee fully again. Rose and the other Bulls would have to re-adjust to playing together and do it under a much tougher circumstance, and much more pressure (on the court and off).

But we’ll know a lot more Friday.

This is the fear: Is Derrick Rose on his way to the Penny Hardaway, Bill Walton club?

Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose waits for the start of a media interview at the start of the team's training camp at the Berto Arena in Chicago, Illinois

Bill Walton. Grant Hill. Brandon Roy. Penny Hardaway. Yao Ming. Tracy McGrady. Danny Manning. Sam Bowie. Brad Daugherty. Greg Oden.

You can form a powerhouse team that includes a Hall of Famer (and other potential ones) whose careers were cut short of their prime because their bodies betrayed them. Many showed us seasons of greatness before their knees, or backs, or ankles gave out. Some never got that far (Oden may the best example).

Is Derrick Rose going to join that club?

That is the fear, the worst case scenario after it was announced that for the third season in a row Rose’s season would be cut short by a knee injury. For the second time in three years he will have surgery on his right meniscus.

The fact is it is too early to tell if he will join that club. Rose is just 26, it’s too early to say anything definitive about his career.

Until the surgeon looks down the scope at his knee in the coming days we don’t know if his meniscus can be repaired or if all or part of it must be removed. However, early reports are this tear is not as severe as the previous ones. We don’t know the recovery time. We don’t know how he will bounce back physically (Russell Westbrook and others have bounced back to become their old selves).

It will be much longer before we know if Rose can bounce back mentally and get over the hurdles.

For Rose this has been more of the issue coming off the first two knee surgeries — he didn’t attack the rim with the same fearlessness. The numbers aren’t bad — this season Rose drove 7.3 times per game in the half court offense (according to the Sports VU cameras), he shot 52.2 percent on those drives scoring 6.2 points a game, and the team scores 9.3 points per game on them because he kicks passes out as well. But it wasn’t the same. As Bulls color analyst Stacy King notes, pre-injury Rose scored about 60 percent of his points in the paint, post injury Rose it has been closer to 40 percent.

What we can learn from the guys on that list at the top of this post — and other guys who have bounced back from similar injuries to be productive, Dwyane Wade for example — is that if Rose is going to continue on as a star in this league his game has to evolve. It has to adapt to what his body can do.

To be fair we had seen more of that, more of playmaker Rose in the past month. We know he tried to use the jumper more this season, but his midrange and three-point shooting percentages fell. He’s got to hit those shots.

The best model might be Wade. He’s a player whose fearless, attacking style helped take over the 2006 NBA Finals and get Miami it’s first ring; but that was a contrast from the more rounded game we saw from him winning two more rings next to LeBron James in 2012 and 2013. Rose needs to find more of that balance in his game.

There are other guys on that list who ended up going another route.

Bill Walton was an MVP and an NBA champion before a host of foot, ankle and other problems caused him to play in just 14 games over four seasons. His career appeared done. Then Walton got relatively healthy, adapted his game, and most importantly for him adjusted his mindset to be willing to be a role player. He was a key bench reserve on the 1985-86 Celtics and picked up his second ring.

Grant Hill, the same way, went from a 20 point a game scorer and foundational piece his first six years in the league, to a quality veteran role player in Phoenix who could knock down threes at the end. (In between were some ugly years battling injuries.)

Rose is not at the point he has to think more like Walton and Hill, but he is going to have to adapt.

Whatever happens, I just hope in 10 years we don’t put Rose’s name on that list above.