The new word in the lexicon for the Chicago Bulls? Proprioception. Derrick Rose is at 100%, at least in health, after deciding not to play in the NBA this season and give his body a little bit more time to get used to the new situation. The Chicago Bulls are hoping that he has some Adrian Peterson in him.
Proprioception – The sense of the relative position of neighboring parts of the body and the effort needed to create movement. In other words, it is what allows an athlete to feel like himself again. Rose was probably the hardest point guard to stop in the NBA when driving to the basket before his injury, just like Peterson was the hardest running back to take down in the NFL. He went back to that form, and actually did something better than he ever has in the past.
According to Craig Levitz, chief of orthopedic surgery at South Nassau Community Hospital, tearing the ACL is different for every person, and the recuperation and rehabilitation works differently for each one.
When you tear your ACL and you come back, the game is too fast for you. You’re used to seeing a guy on the field and your whole body goes that way before you think about it. When you tear your ACL, you have to tell your leg to go that way.
The muscle loses all its memory when you tear an ACL. You’ve made a baby again. So you have to teach it. Peterson did not show that lack of proprioception. Most guys need that one year. He very well could have had muscles that were able to re-learn at a rate faster than the average guy’s.
Rose and the Bulls handled the comeback situation poorly. Rose is probably mostly at fault, as it seemed he was toying with fans and teammates about his decision, but in truth never intended to step on the court this season, especially not jump right into the middle of things in the playoffs.
The decision not to return? Maybe the best one. The Bulls have too much money invested in Rose as the future of the franchise in order to risk him when there’s no chance of getting by the Miami Heat. But the yo-yoing between what’s being said to the media and what’s really going on didn’t make the situation any more comfortable for anyone, and fans didn’t take the situation too lightly as well.
The Bulls are hoping Rose learns fast. Their salary cap is booked as long as Carlos Boozer stays on the team, which means that now is the time to strike. The players around Rose showed they can get the team as far as the conference semifinals. Now it’s up to him to make all that faith and investment in him come true in the most optimistic of fulfillment: Winning the NBA title in the next two years.