The Derrick Rose soap opera has dragged on in Chicago for the past few months as the Chicago Bulls point guard has toyed with fans and media alike with the possibility that the former MVP could return from his torn ACL in time to make a difference in the postseason. According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com, the possibility exists for Rose to “suit up” for game 3 at the United Center.
After a surprising win in game one vs. Lebron James and the Miami Heat — it was only a surprise to those outside Chicago — the cries for Rose to return have never been greater. The final hurdle in his rehab from his torn ACL according to medical personnel has been live game action, which obviously to this point Rose has been hesitant about.
Rose has been medically cleared for more than two months, and according to Bulls broadcaster Stacey King has looked like the best player in practice during that stretch. Although Rose has been seen cheering his teammates from the bench, he has been the target of many Bulls fans who have questioned his toughness, will to win and his heart.
I have been in the camp that supported Rose and believed that the cautious approach was the best in a season when the Heat was the overwhelming favorite to win the NBA title. I was under the impression that if Rose was going to come back this season, it would be with a few games left in the regular season to get his confidence back before the playoffs started.
I was not alone in that belief. But after Joakim Noah, Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng became injured or sick, the more my belief became the minority. With the Bulls severely undermanned and Rose apparently healthy, the question turned from when he would rejoin his teammates to why he has not already rejoined his teammates.
I wonder what the reception would be if Rose did make his return on Friday night after the scorn and vitriolic comments heard on local radio over the past few weeks and months. I have a feeling the people who were calling him soft would be kissing his Adidas if he helped the Bulls beat the Heat.
However, I’m skeptical that Rose will return for game 3 of any other game in this postseason. I don’t think there will be a Willis Reed moment in Rose’s future. But fair or not, the stigma that he is soft or lacks heart will stick with him until he returns to his MVP form. Maybe we’ll get a glimmer of that sooner than we thought.