9:46 AM CDT, April 17, 2013
Derrick Rose doesn’t get it.
He’s not feeling all of the love that he’s used to. In fact, he is getting fired on in some places for not playing this season, and he’s surprised by it.
Rose is 11 months out from surgery to repair his torn left ACL. The Bulls are one game from the end of the regular schedule and several days from the playoffs. Maybe Rose has a surprise planned --- the superhero flashes into the building for the postseason --- but the Bulls seem more likely to say goodbye to this season before Rose says hello to the starting lineup.
Bulls players have gone down injured and come back and then gone down again. They never regain full strength. I mean, Vladimir Radmanovic has had to play. That’s how thin the roster has gotten.
That’s also how magnificent a coach Tom Thibodeau is. The star player never showed up, most of the starting lineup got hurt, even the backups got hurt, but Thibodeau coaxed, screamed, ordered, and coached them to what should be a 45-win season and a fifth seed. Even in a pathetic Eastern Conference outside of Miami, that’s a big accomplishment, and it all starts with Rose.
Or without him. Without the franchise player even trying to play limited minutes. Rose is two months past the time when doctors cleared Rose to scrimmage in practice without restrictions. He scrimmaged. He ran and dunked and shot, and teammates have said he looks great.
This is just what the doctor ordered, and then Rose refused to follow doctors orders. Dr. Brian Cole said Rose’s “exponential growth is going to come’’ when he plays in games.
But no, Rose won’t play. Or maybe his brother won’t let him. Rose has gone rogue. He suddenly has shown as little respect for his rehab schedule as Nate Robinson shows for game plans.
Everything Rose has been doing since February and everything that is being done for him seem overprotective and counterproductive. If someone in his family really loved Rose, he or she would explain that playing in games is not the end of rehab, but it is the last and most important part of it.
Rose wants to come back "110 percent." He can’t. No one can. He has to play games to come close to even 100 percent. Everybody inside and outside the Bulls knows this. Everyone is tired of Rose’s reluctance to continue the course of recovery. But nobody in a prominent position wants to say it.
Teammates, Bulls wonks and opponents all encourage Rose to wait until he believes he’s ready. But really, what else could they say?
Nobody in the Bulls front office and certainly nobody in the locker room would dare voice the thought that the guy is hurting his team by not continuing his rehab the way doctors have doped it out for him and every other post-op patient. Opposing players, as you’d expect, look out for their fellow union members.
The backlash that surprised Rose has come from the public and the media. He apparently hears the frustration and anger. Perhaps he has heard people saying Kobe Bryant might come back from his Achilles tear before Rose plays for the Bulls again.
Here’s what Rose doesn’t seem to get: He wouldn’t have to listen to such cruel swipes if he had continued listening to the doctors at the most important time.
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