WASHINGTON — There are a number of ways the Chicago Bulls and star point guard Derrick Rose could have handled Rose's return from knee surgery, but that would have been too easy.
Rose tore his ACL on April 28, 2012 - the first day of the NBA playoffs, and since that day more than a year ago, the public has been discussing when Rose would return to the court.
Adidas even ran a series of commercials showing Rose’s rehab all the way through his return to a sellout crowd at the United Center in Chicago.
It all seemed inevitable that Rose would return this season, and when he did the Bulls would be championship contenders once again.
But, not everything happens the way it should. Many assumed Rose would return soon after the All Star Break once he started practicing full time with Chicago. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months, and Rose still isn’t back.
He was cleared for full basketball activities and has been practicing at full speed with his teammates since March, so what is the problem? Rose has consistently said he won’t return until he’s 110 percent, whenever that occurs.
Much of the country doesn’t understand how Rose, who looks fully healthy in a new suit each night at the end of the Bulls bench, can practice fully and then not suit up. The injury woes facing Chicago certainly haven’t made things easier on Rose. Luol Deng hasn’t played the last four games dating back to the first round after being tested for viral meningitis and needing a spinal tap.
Joakim Noah is playing through a painful bought with Plantar fasciitis, an injury he thought would keep him from playing even one minute in the postseason. Kirk Hinrich hasn’t played the past five games with a calf injury.
The Bulls injuries shouldn’t force Rose back if he’s not ready to come back, but it just magnifies his absence even more. Before Game 1 of the second round series against the rival Miami Heat, Rose said his status was still “up in the air” as to whether he could come back. This answer has been par for the course with what Rose has said about a potential comeback.
After Monday’s Game 1 victory in Miami over the defending champs, there was hope that Rose might actually come back, but Wednesday’s 37-point defeat brought Bulls fans back to earth to realize beating the Heat in three of the next five games is a long shot even with the next two games at home.
The blame for this debacle and miscommunication lies with the Bulls organization and with Rose and his camp. It has long been rumored that Adidas, who puts out a yearly shoe sponsored by Rose, was plotting a dramatic return this season. Game three in Chicago would be pretty dramatic.
Back in February when talk of Rose’s return was just heating up, the Bulls and Rose should have announced that he wasn’t coming back until next season. Sure fans would have been disappointed, but at least they would know the facts.
What fans have now are circling media reports daily and Rose and the Bulls being non-committal about the return. Rose is a child of the rough Southside of Chicago - he will forever be loved in the Windy City - his reputation everywhere else could use a reboot.
Rose’s lack of an actual timetable combined with new reports each day has put Rose in an unattractive light.
Rose is a great young player, that hasn’t changed. This whole year will be forgotten once Rose is back streaking across the floor like a freight train. The real question is when will that return take place?
Only Derrick knows for sure. The rest of us are waiting.