It’s been one year exactly without basketball for Derrick Rose, or at least NBA basketball. The Chicago Bulls? They’ve been surviving without him, and they’ll have to continue and do that according to all the rumors and reports, at least until the 2013 playoffs are over.
Rose has no intention of returning. Maybe once in a while he’ll say something about pondering his return, but it seems that everyone in Chicago and in connection to the Bulls organization knows it isn’t happening. He can dunk all he wants in the shootarounds before the games, but it won’t bring him back.
Rose is 100% healthy to play, at least a few minutes, probably more. But he isn’t ready, isn’t prepared, in his head, to take on the responsibility. Because the moment he starts playing, the questions about why not more minutes, and not why playing better than he is will begin. In a season that seems to be lost due to the Miami Heat being too good to contend with, especially in a seven game series, Rose, and the Bulls as well, don’t want to take a risk for something that probably is unreachable.
It was on April 28, 2012, when Rose played in Game 1 for the Bulls, the number one seed in the Eastern conference, against the Philadelphia 76ers. Up 99-87, with 1:25 left in the game, Rose shouldn’t have been on the court. And yet he was, driving to the basket, taking a bad step or two, tearing his ligaments. He finished with 23 points and 9 assists after a season in which he missed almost half of it due to other problems, mostly with his back.
The Bulls eventually lost that series, with Joakim Noah also getting injured in the process. A year later, and as the fifth seed, they’re on their way to pull off a-not-so-surprising upset against the Brooklyn Nets, sans-Rose. Maybe it’s not so bad that he’ll wait a few more months before he makes his official comeback, when he, and the Bulls, beginning a new season with a lot more expectations, are a lot more ready for what’s coming.