Derrick Rose’s decision to take his time in his approach to rehab has caused backlash among fans as the former MVP has now missed an entire season and most likely won’t suit up for the playoffs, either. Just the mention of his name has caused some in Chicago to question not only his mental toughness, but also his ability as a leader.
It doesn’t help Rose – at least from a fan perspective – that Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson are both battling with injuries while still trying to play, and fans seem to be unwilling to recognize the injuries aren’t the same. All they see is that their superstar and best player isn’t out there on the court when guys who have had the same injury (Ricky Rubio, Iman Shumpert, Adrian Peterson) are playing.
People have gone so far as to make jokes like, “[insert player name here] will be back before Derrick Rose.” It’s almost as if raw emotion has superseded rational thought when it comes to the seriousness of ACL reconstruction surgery and the time it takes to fully heal and recover.
Many fans have cited “The Return” as their biggest source of disappointment and accused D. Rose, adidas and the Bulls of holding them hostage in a sense by not making some sort of definitive statment on his status, choosing instead to "leave the door open." Sure, everyone is a sucker for a great story and it was hard to watch those episodes and not have thoughts of how awesome it was going to be once the Englewood native takes the court again to save the team, the season, basketball in Chicago, and of course, to beat the Heat.
But people need to realize one thing: “The Return” was a commercial, it wasn’t a promise. Neither adidas, the Bulls or even Derrick Rose himself said he would come back to play this year and the threat of him possibly missing the entire season was always there, even if we chose not to accept it.
We all wanted the initial 8-12 month prognosis for recovery to be on the shorter end and most hoped – and thought – Rose would come back around the 10th or 11th month. But that hasn’t happened yet, and people have essentially turned on him. It’s worth asking if personal expectations about D. Rose’s return are at the root of all this angst.
Obviously, a large part of the backlash is that people just want to see Derrick Rose play basketball again – and he will. But doesn’t the guy who turned the Bulls from a middling franchise to an elite contender in just a few short years and who dedicated his MVP award to the people of Chicago, deserve a little better from his fans?
This year may be lost, and to see him miss the year is certainly a disappointment, but the Bulls will have many more seasons to compete for that seventh championship with Rose back at the helm. So for now, cut him some slack and let him take all the time he needs to come back and be the D. Rose of old.
That’s the player who gives the Bulls the best shot at winning an NBA Championship, not one who’s still recovering.
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