Whether you are a Chicago Bulls fan or not, watching a player like Derrick Rose, an individual that just radiates passion for the game of basketball, get hurt is not an easy sight to behold.
As Rose cut down from the three point line, fully expecting the bounce pass on its way from Joakim Noah to further fuel what already looked to finally be the breakout game so highly anticipated since his return to the NBA against the Portland Trail Blazers, something went wrong. As with all Bulls fans, I think that I can safely speak for everyone when I say that the two most hated words in the English language are quickly becoming “non-contact”.
As with any sport, one knows to expect their favorite athletes to sport bumps and bruises during the course of the season. That said, with the amount we’ve been exposed to most injuries, we are usually pretty good at putting on our Nostradamus caps on and foretelling what the future holds for the players and teams we pledge allegiance to. We’ve seen what a twisted or sprained ankle looks like and could probably diagnose it faster than we could spot Waldo in a colorful children’s book. We know what broken fingers, hamstring pulls, dislocated shoulders and concussions look, sound and feel like as a fan when you witness it and see the emotion of the athlete.
Unfortunately, when it comes to those two hated words we really never have a clue. It’s simple to watch an athlete run into a brick wall or get knocked out of mid-air and fall hard and awkwardly, but how does someone try to really empathize with something we can’t understand? How can someone possibly feel what someone feels when what looks to have caused it is something that not only they, but all of us have done thousands of times without any damage inflicted upon our bodies?
With Rose, the history regarding his injuries has been well documented, especially in regards to the torn ACL that he suffered in his left knee during the 2011 NBA playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers. Early on it seemed like more of the same as reports regarding a hamstring strain, soreness and turf toe have followed Rose for weeks now and were probably at least partially to blame for his return through ten games being less than trademark from the 2010-11 NBA MVP.
If that was bad, then how can one describe a non-contact, innocent looking injury that most likely rests somewhere within the very gifted but very unlucky right knee?
You simply cannot.
You cross your fingers, say a prayer, hope for the best and wait for the MRI scheduled to take place on Saturday. You prepare yourself to either produce a sigh of relief (which, at this point, anything but a serious knee injury would produce) or to have a moment of silence as you contemplate how so much wrong can happen to someone who treats the game so right.
With his inability to push off or put weight on the knee and the general look of the injury, closely resembling that of Danilo Gallinari‘s torn ACL aside from the tumble that would make Vlade Divac and Francesco Totti proud, the prognosis looks gloomy for the time being. The lone bright spot in the otherwise cloud of darkness was that with this injury you didn’t see, feel or hear the injury like you did that late April night at the United Center. On that occasion you couldn’t help but race through every emotion on your personal spectrum as you watched him wince, cry and yell. You couldn’t help but fall silent and contribute to the collective silence that spread through the NBA and the entire world as they watched those events unfold.
I might very well end up wrong on this, but that wasn’t the case this time around. It wasn’t merely a sense of desensitization for the injuries that seemed to plague the star point guard but instead genuinely an event that you took in as negative but somehow knew he’d bounce back from.
Fingers crossed everyone.