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Derrick Rose should quit Team USA, save himself for Bulls

NEW YORK NY - AUGUST 20: Derrick Rose #41 USA Men's National National Team dribbles during practice August 20 2014

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 20: Derrick Rose #41 of the USA Men's National National Team dribbles during practice on August 20, 2014 at the Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Updated: September 22, 2014 12:40PM

OK, Derrick, just stop.

Quit Team USA and call it a day.

Or a week. Or whatever.

Rest your right knee. Rest your left knee. Rest everything. Have yourself cryogenically frozen and then thawed in two months, ready to play NBA basketball.

That’s when the regular season starts, and that’s all we really care about.

That’s what the Bulls are paying you $100 million to do, after all. That’s what Adidas is paying you $200 million to do.

Missing time with knee issues has become so common for Rose since 2012 that we don’t know whether the guy can play anything remotely like a full season without hurting himself.

He took some time off after Team USA’s tuneup game against Brazil at the United Center last Saturday, a win in which he played 24 minutes and scored seven points. He left the court with trainers in the first half with a facial cut, and those of us observing, who always fear the worst with Rose, figured he needed an eyeball transplant.

Just a stitch or two and a small Band-Aid. Phew!

But that little rest since Saturday, taken for ‘‘general body fatigue,’’ continued through Team USA’s game against the Dominican Republic on Wednesday in New York. Rose shot around early, then was scratched from the game by head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

When does fatigue become ‘‘I’m hurt again”?

I know this is hard for Rose to take. An elite, driven athlete is never sated just by tons of money. He wants to play. He wants to dominate. That’s what he was put on earth to do.

But for Bulls fans, the wait to see a healthy, resilient Rose has been like dripping water torture.

Patriots though we may be, we have no similar interest in the United States’ dominance in world basketball. We know the globe now plays the game. We’ve seen our Olympic teams beaten by Argentina, Puerto Rico. We’re still the best, overall. So it goes. Every global star either plays in the NBA or is named Nikola Mirotic. Hooray.

But Kevin Durant and other stars are not playing for Team USA. They’re preparing for the NBA season and the preseason practices that begin — for all teams — just five weeks from today.

Rose’s first knee injury — a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee — may be totally healed. And his second major injury — a torn medial meniscus in his right knee — has been stitched back together and supposedly is good to go.

But God — or old David Stern — generally built players’ bodies pretty well before surgery. No normal knees get better with surgery. There isn’t a rocket chip doctors can put in there. Yet.

So Rose is damaged goods. Sorry, it’s the truth. Hurts to say it. Just like it hurts to say former MVP.

Arthritis likely will be his new closest friend. That and inflammation and swelling and good old ‘‘soreness.’’ Oh, and fatigue.

All of which are just indicators that he’s not a yearling in a spring field of flowers anymore.

Who cares if he wins with Team USA or loses with them or becomes the team mascot. Does anybody in America care that our beloved Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews won the gold medal for Canada in the 2014 Olympics? Or that his beloved teammate Patrick Kane lost for the U.S.?

No. The Stanley Cup is all.

And the NBA title is all we care about here in hoops — one that must come while Joakim Noah is young (and unhurt) and before LeBron James builds the Evil Empire in Cleveland (if he hasn’t already).

Just come back and get better, Derrick.

Watch the Little League World Series, like the rest of us.

And prepare for bigger things.


Twitter: @ricktelander

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