When Derrick Rose left the Chicago Bulls’ 96-81 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night, the former MVP’s organization was extremely quick to say his hamstring injury was “minor” and that he was pulled from the game for precautionary reasons. That may be true, but for Rose and the struggling Bulls, another injury and more missed time could turn into a negative snowball effect.
For starters, Rose hasn’t been himself since his return that was more hyped than anything in the NBA world over the past few seasons save the Miami Heat’s circus in South Beach. He’s struggled with his shot and hasn’t looked nearly as aggressive and explosive as he did during the preseason. But is it just a slump for him and the 3-3 Bulls or a bad sign?
Well, Chicago made the playoffs without Rose in 2012, so it’s not a stretch to think the team’s slow start is because of Rose. Sure, the Bulls are still a pretty good team without No. 1 on the floor, but it’s not hard to see that all their players are hesitant to make plays on offense because Rose is out there. Their offense looks discombobulated and awkward and while they may not want to admit it, Rose is at least part of the problem.
This latest injury can only hurt Rose’s psyche even more than it already is following his recovery from an ACL tear. While he may have added five inches to his vertical during that rehab, he’s lost his shooting touch, at least temporarily. Now that should change with time, assuming he’s completely healthy both mentally and physically, but this hamstring injury could turn into a setback that affects Rose and the Bulls more than they might think.