(Yahoo!) Derrick Rose didn’t do himself any favors by honestly speaking on the record with ESPN’s Nick Friedell on Tuesday, but it’s exactly that sort of perspective that leads to the comments from Derrick Rose that you’re about to read. He doesn’t care what you think about him, and he’s going to be honest about how he goes about his job, even if it leaves him prone to criticism from the sorts of people that think constantly playing through injuries is the right way to run a season, a career, or a life.
Rose, you’ll recall, was shamed into returning way too early from dual ankle sprains earlier in the season, working in a needless November game against Milwaukee at, in his estimation, 50 percent. Rose then sat the next two contests against Philadelphia and Boston – two of the East’s worst teams – before returning for a very Derrick Rose-like performance against the Detroit Pistons on Monday.
It doesn't matter that the games in question involved missed contests against the lowly Orlando Magic, Celtics and 76ers. It doesn't matter that the two games Rose returned for were against rebuilding franchises in Detroit and Milwaukee. Chicago has enjoyed a cupcake schedule of late, but even if the heavy-hitters were in town … this doesn’t matter.
Derrick Rose needs to be at his absolute best in April, May and hopefully June. Ankle sprains can nag for an entire NBA season if not treated and rested properly, and it’s not to Rose’s discredit as an unlucky, technically injury-prone player that he came down on someone’s foot in a game on Halloween night, and then exacerbated the problem by overcompensating and spraining the other ankle. Derrick Rose shouldn’t have returned for that Milwaukee game, and he shouldn’t have been shamed for not playing on two sprained ankles against the Orlando Magic last week.
What he should have done was rested. And what he should continue to do is be open and honest about not wanting to risk further injury (and, likely, hurting his team with subpar play along the way) by suiting up while injured. If you’ll recall, Rose played just about the entirety of the compressed 2011-12 NBA schedule with various injuries, and that run ended with an ACL tear during the first game of that season’s playoffs.
There’s no direct link between working through those injuries, or the fatigue from that lockout-inspired schedule, and the freak move that led to Derrick’s ACL tear. There is no direct correlation between that ACL tear and the freak stop and start that led to Derrick’s meniscus tear from last season. And there is no direct link between those massive injuries and the unfortunate incident that saw Rose come down on an opponent’s foot a week and a half ago.
These are frustrating plays, but they are basketball plays. They are par for Derrick Rose (and any other player’s) particular course.
Those players, including Rose, have to sit games out. Rose’s injuries in 2012 and 2013 were unfortunately timed for a number of reasons, knocking Derrick in essence out of games for two full seasons. This adds to the nervy feeling Bulls fans have in regards to their hometown superstar, and it’s understandable.
That doesn’t mean Derrick Rose should have to apologize one bit for sitting out a game against the Philadelphia 76ers in November because of two sprained ankles as he looks to the rest of this season – or the rest of his life.