It remains hard to take seriously any Bulls games without Derrick Rose. At least, in the context of winning a championship, or at least getting past Miami.
But now, it’s officially terrifying to watch any regular-season game with Rose.
Every drive, uh-oh. Every bit of contact, curse word. And that’s not even the bad stuff. No, the bad stuff is what we don’t see, or don’t notice, and then find out the next day, such as his latest owwie.
Rose suffered a sprained ankle against the Knicks on Sunday in his first game back after missing 12 because of a groin injury. So Rose. At least, it has been so Rose, who previously endured toe and back injuries and has missed 40 percent of David Stern’s suicidal regular season. The shocker is that the Bulls haven’t found a sponsor for “Walking Boot Night.’’
It’s not that Rose is soft or a klutz. It’s that he’s a magnet for pain. He’s a bruise in adidas. That’s his game. That’s the way he plays, and that creates the acute dynamic of keeping Rose healthy for the playoffs while getting Rose sharp for the playoffs.
I know I’ll sound stupid suggesting Rose should sit out until the playoffs because he obviously needs some kind of actual game time to calibrate his game.
It won’t be the first time I’ll sound stupid, nor will it be the last, and in fact, I might try to copyright stupid, but Rose should sit out until the playoffs.
I mean, are the adults in charge of the Bulls watching? Do they detect a pattern? Do they have a clue? Do they need a brick wall to fall on them?
Because, I'll tell you what, that's probably the next thing to happen to their franchise player.
I’ll risk rustiness early in Rose's return in Game 1 of the first-round series. It beats no return at all.
Against the Knicks on Sunday, Rose showed he needed two quarters to look like his old self. Great. Fine. Deal. I’d rather sacrifice the first half of the first playoff game against the eighth seed than risk the Bulls' best player crashing into, I don’t know, Udonis Haslem in a meaningless game against Miami on Thursday.
Listen, if Rose shows up in a body cast, make it for “Ring Night,’’ not some stinkin’ midweek game against the freakin’ Bobcats.
Because, again, without Rose, there is no shot at a “Ring Night.’’ There might never be a "Ring Night’’ with him, but without him, forget it. Without him, the Bulls are a nice team that you just want to pet for its competitiveness alone. But they are not a championship team.
Stars win titles. Rose is the Bulls’ only star. Connect the dots, people, and that goes for the player, the coach and the front office. You can do the smart thing or you can hold your breath and watch in fear and risk the immediate future for no good reason in a useless game against the stinkin’ Wizards.