Derrick Rose return for the playoffs? It would be absurd
BY RICK MORRISSEY Sports Columnist March 24, 2014 10:28PM
Should D-Rose try to return for playoffs?
Updated: April 26, 2014 6:23AM
For giggles, let’s assume that the Bulls are indeed expecting Derrick Rose back for the playoffs, as the New York Daily News reported ever so briefly over the weekend.
And for further laughs, let’s assume that Rose is expecting to be back with the Bulls for the playoffs.
What should we, the viewing public, be expecting?
The pessimist in me, fighting a mighty war with the cynic in me, says we should expect the worst — a simultaneous blowout of both of Rose’s knees while he is standing still and doing nothing. It would be the soft-tissue equivalent of spontaneous combustion.
I understand that my worst-case scenario might be too much for you, so I’ll offer another thought on what we could expect if Rose were to come back for the postseason: not much and not a better Bulls team than the one we’re seeing now.
Stay away, Derrick. There’s nothing in it for anybody — not for you, not for the Bulls and not for your fans, many of whom have whiplash from all the ups and downs of following your saga the last two years.
And stick to your guns, Bulls brass. If Rose wants to come back — remember, he wouldn’t rule out a return this season after his most recent knee surgery — don’t let him.
“He’s doing a little more, he’s coming along, he’s doing some things in practice, but he’s out for the year,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said before the Bulls defeated the Pacers on Monday night.
The amount of rust on Rose has to be significant. He has played 10 games the last two seasons, thanks to the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee he suffered in the 2012 playoffs and the torn meniscus in his right knee he suffered in November.
Not being a doctor or a knee whisperer, I don’t know the risk of injury if he were to come back for the playoffs. I do know that, if he were to get hurt again this year, the public blowback wouldn’t be something from which the Bulls and Rose could recover. The response would be harsh: He came back too soon! And for what!
It’s not easy to write that the combination of Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin is a better option than Rose in the postseason, but it happens to be true. They have shared the point-guard duties for the majority of the Bulls’ 71 games, and if that doesn’t count for something, then everything Thibodeau has told us about practice, teamwork and effort means nothing. Rose’s teammates would have to get used to a whole different way of playing.
The Bulls have been much smarter about their approach to Rose’s injury this time around, announcing he was out for the season soon after he tore his meniscus. You’ll recall, in the way you might recall hitting your funny bone over and over again, how painful the will-he/won’t-he soap opera played out last season. Not this time. Not yet, at least.
But Rose hasn’t ruled himself out. Until he does, Elvis isn’t dead.
The idea of Rose playing at any time this season is a bad one, and I’m miles away from being convinced the Daily News report comes close to being an idea. Last week, the Bulls were discussing the possibility of Rose being ready for Team USA’s minicamp in July, and now they’re talking about him being ready for the NBA postseason? I think we just skipped about five steps and at least 150 denials from the Bulls, the protocol for all Rose non-comebacks.
That the latest news of a playoff return was mentioned in just one sentence in the middle of an NBA column in New York would seem to be a textbook definition of burying the lead. But, again, rather than dismiss it out of hand, let’s at least analyze it from the standpoint of logic . . . OK, I just did. It still makes no sense — for all the same reasons it made no sense last year:
◆ You don’t want Rose coming back when the competition is at its fiercest.
◆ The Bulls aren’t going anywhere this season.
◆ The risk of a Rose return far outweighs the reward.
The people running the Bulls aren’t dumb. Nor are they rash. I think they understand that it’s better to live to fight another season. Let him get healthy.
It was Derrick Rose bobblehead night Monday at the United Center. That’s the most we should see of him this season.