Derrick Rose doubters are completely misguided
BY RICK MORRISSEY email@example.com | @MorrisseyCST October 13, 2013 10:30PM
Updated: October 14, 2013 10:55AM
Oh, so this is how it’s going to be.
Derrick Rose sits out a preseason game because of soreness in his surgically repaired left knee, and the knuckleheads crawl out of the woodwork. A slog through message boards and comments sections under newspaper stories makes you regret not owning a pair of waders:
“Poor Derricka. I hope his ouchie feels better soon!’’
“Maybe he can sit out the rest of his contract.’’
“Expect this to happen a lot. Especially for big games and the playoffs.’’
A line was drawn a long time ago. You probably know where you stand. I say “tomato,” and you say “Derrick Rose is a wimp.’’ Nothing the Bulls point guard can say or do will change the minds of the people who believe he is a miserable, moneygrubbing slacker.
When the rest of us learned that Rose was going to sit out the preseason game in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, we uttered more than a few “uh-ohs.’’ The face of the franchise experiences soreness in the knee of the franchise, and we can’t help ourselves. We think the worst.
But let’s try to apply some reason to the situation: that with such a serious injury and major surgery, there were bound to be setbacks. That his sitting out against the Wizards was wise. That there was no need to rush things for a meaningless game, even though it certainly wasn’t meaningless to the good Brazilians who came to see one of the NBA’s marquee stars.
But as John Paxson, the Bulls’ vice president of basketball operations, put it, Rose’s comeback never was going to be without bumps in the road. This bump happened to be in a very public road, and it jarred a lot of people. If we’re being honest, the bump in the road just about blew out the backs of the more nervous among us.
Since the Bulls told Rose he was sitting, there has been very little middle ground.
There has been hate or some grade of panic.
The TV camera shots of Rose on the bench backed up the haters who say that when the delicate star studies tape, it’s “Downton Abbey.”
The camera shots backed up those of us who thought Rose was smart not to hurry back from knee surgery last season.
Some fans thought that, because Rose had taken every precaution by sitting out last season, there would be no backward steps this season. That was fantasy world.
This is a process. Nobody wants to hear it.
Someone asked Paxson if the Bulls had wanted Rose to experience last season what he’s experiencing now. In other words, perhaps it would’ve been smart if Rose had played in 2012-13, dealt with the expected soreness and been perfectly healthy for this season.
That line of questioning never occurred to me. My initial thought when the Bulls announced he wouldn’t play was: See, this is why you didn’t want him to come back too soon. Today’s soreness might have been last season’s reinjury.
Are we really going to spend the entire season arguing over whether Rose should’ve played last season? If so, just hand me a blindfold, a cigarette and the opportunity for a few final words. Whatever did or didn’t happen last season doesn’t matter anymore.
But for the sake of argument, let’s say Rose played last season and seriously hurt his knee in March. Would it have made you feel better because he had tried to gut it out?
Good for you, but guess what? You’d be facing another lost season.
Ah, but at least you would’ve been able to say that Rose was as tough as a fourth-line left wing missing a few teeth. And that seems to be the important thing to a lot of hockey fans. Fine. Have at it.
If you care about Rose and the Bulls, you’re going to need faith. You’ll have to hope that the team is telling the truth and that the tenderness in his left knee is the result of playing at game speed for the first time in 17 months.
If it’s more than that, this season is going to be longer than last season. And if Rose has done damage to himself, I’m not sure what the haters are going to do with themselves. Hate the guy who they thought should have played last season on a knee they insisted was perfectly healed?
Good luck with that bit of intellectual contortion.