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May 7, 2013

Defending Derrick Rose

by Jared

Over the past few months Derrick Rose has become the most scrutinized player in the NBA. That’s saying a lot when LeBron James and Dwight Howard are in the league.

General consensus is that Rose is “soft” and needs to play, even if it’s only for a hand full of minutes. I’m here to tell everyone that he has nothing to prove and should come back whenever he feels ready to.

Last season Derrick Rose fought through back spasms, a turf toe, a pulled groin and a foot issue that was most likely plantar fasciitis.

He was knocked to the deck, grieving in pain and aching on a daily basis.

All of those injuries were capped off with the granddaddy of them all: a torn ACL in the first game of the playoffs last year.

Now, all of a sudden, he’s not “tough.”

This all started when the Chicago Bulls medically cleared him to play. It was a huge mistake by the franchise to let that news slip out because it gave hope to Bulls fans everywhere. He was expected back within weeks, and fans became upset and frustrated when it didn’t happen.

There is no real comparison to Rose right now. By now, we all know the two common comparisons to Rose and his injury: Adrian Peterson and Iman Shumpert.

However, Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings plays a completely different sport and doesn’t have to play three games in a week or deal with all the traveling Rose does. Yes Peterson is a freak of nature, but it’s still apples to oranges. Iman Shumpert of the Knicks is a role player who is not leaned on nearly as much as Rose would be.

If you don’t like those comparisons I have one more: Gilbert Arenas.

Gilbert Arenas will always be the “came back too soon” tale for anyone who suffered a major knee injury. Gilbert tore a meniscus near the tail end of the 2006-07 season, came back too soon, reinjured it in November, missed much of the season, came back too soon a second time, reinjured his knee in the playoffs, came back too soon the following fall, had a third surgery, and ended up playing 15 games total in two years. Make no mistake — he was NEVER the same.

This is the problem facing Rose right now. Fans watch ESPN and think Rose is ok, but we don’t really know whats going on. Rose is in a no win situation. He obviously feels the pressure from all directions. Fans, teammates, coaches, you name it. It can certainly have an affect on a players confidence. To the point that they trick themselves into thinking they feel a certain way.

So is it really worth having Rose come back for 15-20 minuets against the Heat? The risk is far greater than the reward. Best case Rose energizes the team and provides a spark off the bench. Worst case, he re injures his knee in a series that the Bulls will mostly likely lose regardless.

Magic Johnson summed it up perfectly “When you’re ready, you know. If you’re wondering even a little? Then you don’t know.” That’s where Derrick Rose is right now. He’s in his own head. He doesn’t trust his knee. He doesn’t want to be the next guy who came back too soon. He doesn’t want to be Gilbert Arenas.

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