During the first quarter of today’s Bulls-Lakers game, ESPN’s Doris Burke reported that Derrick Rose’s hamstrings — and not his surgically-repaired left knee — are delaying his return.
Rose has been taking part in full-contact practices for a month and the big “news” on Friday was that he’s been medically cleared to play (although that should have been assumed given that he taking part in full-contact practices). Which naturally led to the obvious question: Why isn’t Rose playing?
As it turns out, Rose says his hamstrings are “on fire” after practice and that he won’t return until that isn’t the case.
This situation is starting to get a little out of hand. Rose says he isn’t ready to play. As an organization, the Bulls have been saying all the right things, specifically that they will not pressure Rose to return. Then a “team source” leaks that Rose has been cleared to play. Then Rose misses practice on Saturday. Then the hamstring story surfaces today. Meanwhile, there’s not much actual information being provided by Rose or the Bulls about where exactly Rose is at mentally or physically.
At this point, it almost feels like the best thing to do would be shut Rose down for the season. Don’t make him (or allow him) to come back at the tail end of the season and head into the playoffs untried and untested. Give him the time he needs to feel fully prepared and (as he put it) 110% ready to go.
In all reality, there’s no real sense in Rose playing this season, other than a little spiritual lift for the team and its fan base. It’s very unlikely the Bulls could compete for a title this season, even if Rose — and Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Rip Hamilton and Taj Gibson — were all completely healthy and ready to go.
Shutting Rose down for the year would end the endless questions and all the associated drama. Scratching this year off the record, Rose has given the Bulls absolutely everything he had and everything the team could have asked for. If there’s little or nothing to be gained by playing someone who isn’t mentally ready to play — especially someone like Rose who has earned a little good faith — then put this saga to an end and let this year’s unit move on.
That’s just my two cents.