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Derrick Rose tells GQ Magazine he feels isolated in his fame

Bulls superstar Derrick Rose told GQ thhe's never left alone. |  PhoCredit: Nathaniel Goldberg / GQ

Bulls superstar Derrick Rose told GQ that he's never left alone. | Photo Credit: Nathaniel Goldberg / GQ

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Updated: April 17, 2012 3:03PM

A profile in the May issue of GQ Magazine doesn’t provide many new insights into Derrick Rose. He’s an introvert in the intensely extroverted world of professional sports. He’s so beloved by Bulls fans that he’s unable to walk the city streets he has forever called home without causing a stir. He can look out of his 84th-floor condominium in Trump Tower but others can’t look in.

Knowing that injuries continue to deny him the opportunity to escape into the game he loves adds to the melancholy of the story.

“It gets on my nerves that I just can’t go out,” Rose told writer Will Leitch. “It’s just boundaries now. People are like, ‘You can’t go here, you can’t go there, you got to let that person know where you’re going.’ It’s just weird. I’m never alone. Ever.”

You can’t blame the Bulls 23-year-old MVP if it isn’t the uplifting tale many would expect given Rose’s meteoric rise to folk hero status in his hometown. A lucrative extension from the Bulls and a lifetime contact with Adidas has secured the financial future of Rose and his immediate family. Otherwise, it has been a tough year for Rose and it could be about to get tougher.

The Bulls star missed his 24th game of the season Monday night with a foot injury suffered in a win over the Pistons on Sunday. That’s the fifth separate injury the Bulls star has sustained this season, and although we don’t yet know the extent of the injury, or whether it will prevent him from playing against the Bobcats on Wednesday night, there’s no disputing a theme has developed.

In just this fourth NBA season, Derrick Rose can’t stay healthy. There’s has been some debate over whether his toe injury resulted in back spasms, leading to the strained groin, resulting in a twisted ankle that contributed to his current foot injury. Some medical folks claim it’s as elementary as the thigh bone being connected to the hip bone while others say there’s no proven link.

Whatever. The previous injuries wouldn’t necessarily prevent Rose from accomplishing what he must for the Bulls to challenge the Heat again — be healthy and playing at his best when the playoffs start. This latest injury may jeopardize his ability to use the final five games of the Bulls season as a springboard to a second straight deep postseason run.

Even if it’s not a serious injury, and Rose is able to return to action against the Bobcats and then the Heat on Thursday, after all this it seems fair to question whether he can remain so.

We know how driven Rose is. He admitted again in the GQ piece that Michael Jordan’s legacy drives him. It’s not as if the injuries are the result of a questionable work ethic. Rose may be the hardest working player in the NBA, leading some to suggest that his offseason workout regime is too strenuous, which smacks of hypocrisy.

A young star working himself into the best shape of his life before the most demanding season of his career shows maturity not carelessness.

“I’ve run into him a couple of times, but we don’t have a relationship,” Rose said of Jordan. “His titles drive me. I’m not scared of him; if anything, it makes me work harder when I do train.”

To describe Rose’s career to date as injury prone is unfair because he has been relatively injury free until now. To say he has been injury prone this season is a cold fact. We may never know why his body is betraying him. But watching his teammates play without him, like watching fellow Chicagoans go about their day-to-day lives far below his penthouse window, is likely equally isolating.

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