TELANDER: Derrick Rose should return for the playoffs, where anything can happen
BY RICK TELANDER email@example.com April 27, 2013 12:04AM
In this photo taken Wednesday, April 24, 2013, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook stumbles after injuring his right knee in the second quarter of Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Houston Rockets in Oklahoma City. Westbrook, who remained in the game, will have surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee and be out indefinitely, dealing a harsh blow to the City Thunders championship chances. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Updated: May 29, 2013 7:51AM
For everybody who loudly proclaims that knee-rehabbing Derrick Rose should not even consider coming back this postseason, I offer some nuggets of differing thought:
Sunday marks exactly one year since he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament, and improvement in strength, agility and confidence should mean Rose is closer to fit every day.
The season is so long that most players are hurting by May, forget June. The Los Angeles Lakers’ battered Steve Nash gets epidurals just to play. Oh, and have you seen his Hall of Fame teammate, Kobe Bryant? Not since Bryant’s Achilles tendon snapped two weeks ago you haven’t.
Players — star players — can get hurt at any time, meaning coming back and helping your team in the playoffs is a good idea whenever you can.
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s All-Star guard, Russell Westbrook, just injured his knee and is out for surgery. Remember when folks were saying the Thunder probably had the best chance to beat the Miami Heat this year for the NBA title? Right, that was two days ago.
Why, even ‘‘The Chosen One,’’ King LeBron James himself, could get hurt. Or teammate Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh. Coach Erik Spoelstra could slip in the bathtub, hit his head and forget how to draw a chalkboard X. Things happen.
And, lastly, if you are a stud star in the NBA, you come back and play, even if it’s for a moment. Even if it ruins your stats. The clock never stops ticking.
◆ Global warming? Nah, there’s no global warming. As Rush Limbaugh tells us, it’s a communist (OK, mostly Democrat) hoax, a fraud perpetrated by crafty socialists interested only in taking away your machine guns and hand grenades.
No matter that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts the Arctic will have ice-free summers by 2050, if not sooner, and that the ocean rise caused by weather change means low-lying island nations like the Maldives and Tuvalu and Kiribati may have to evacuate all residents within a decade. Man and his fossil fuel-burning couldn’t possibly be causing any of this. Why, the NOAA is itself a commie cell!
Within a decade. Ponder that.
You’ll be able to watch it happen. The whole charade.
◆ Last week’s April 22 issue of Sports Illustrated commemorated the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing survivors and all those athletes and volunteers and civic workers who assisted during the chaos.
The photos are gripping, and there on pages 8 and 9 is a double-spread the editors may or may not have studied in great detail. It shows the sidewalk by the finish line, people down, glass shattered, smoke still rising, victims screaming, one man holding a small American flag. And down by the tattered snow fence, almost hidden between the slats, near a street sign on the pavement, is a shoeless, sockless human foot.
◆ You think D-I COLLEGE football and basketball isn’t big business? A single win in the men’s NCAA tournament is worth $1.5 million to a school’s athletic department, according to the NCAA’s conference distribution fund. Louisville’s men’s basketball program was ranked the most valuable in 2013 by Forbes Magazine, with a value of $38.5 million, based on an insane one-season profit of $24.6 million. Second place went to Kansas at a $32.9 million value, with a 2013 profit of $19.9 million.
CBS and Turner Network pay the NCAA nearly $11 billion for 14 years’ worth of Big Dance TV coverage — about $771 million a year.
And that’s not even touching football, which, with a national playoff tournament set to begin after the 2014 season, could someday make the Super Bowl seem like a regular-season game. The proposed three-game tourney will begin its auction with a roughly half-billion-dollar price tag. A bigger tourney could be worth, ah, God knows the limit.
But the players, the mooing cows and baa-ing sheep? They’re still amateurs, herding down the chutes for free.
◆ Always leave on a happy note. So two of ’em today:
In the recent NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns took name-of-the-year LSU linebacker Barkevious Mingo with their first pick. Bonus points? Mingo’s non-football-playing older brothers’ names are Hugh and Hughtavious.
USA Today founder and short-is-better-when-writing philosopher Al Neuharth died April 19 at 89. He wrote his own humorous and pithy obituary for the newspaper he started. It ran under the famed George S. Kaufman quote, “Ah . . . forgotten but not gone.’’ Its length: 300 words.
Less than half this column. Twice as good.