Derrick Rose has been medically cleared to play, but has not played a single minute for the Chicago Bulls since suffering a torn ACL last March. Rose will probably will not play in the postseason either.
The initial recovery time for the injured star was eight to twelve months, however the organization hoped they would get their franchise player much sooner.
Rose risks losing respect from his teammates and from Chicago fans if he ultimately decides to not play this season.
The Bulls have looked really good this season, earning a sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, despite losing the majority of their bench players to free agency and trades.
The new "bench mob" - Nate Robinson, Kirk Hinrich, Marco Belinelli, and Nazr Mohammed- seemed highly questionable at best. However, they have played surprisingly well and developed team chemistry rather quickly.
Most were wondering at the beginning of the 2012-2013 season, if this year would be a waste, and Rose should not risk returning this season. Tanking the season seemed like a likely avenue, but coach Tom Thibodeau commanded his squad and the Bulls started winning.
Carlos Boozer, averaging more points and rebounds, than last year, started playing like the former 2-time All-Star and even won Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
Nate Robinson, a player with previous maturity issues, also started playing with more self-control. Robinson is shooting 40% from the 3PT land and averaging over 13 points a game, his highest since the 2008-2009 season.
Little Nate has been a delight to watch this year, and his feud with New York Knicks forward, Steve Novak, has been extremely entertaining to say the least. Little Nate called him a "clown" on twitter after Novak dissed him in this video:
The season is also without controversy- when the trade deadline passed, and the Bulls did not make any moves, Derrick brother, Reggie Rose, voiced his opinion publicly to ESPN Chicago.
"Its frustrating to see my brother play his heart and soul out for the team and them not to put anything around them, " Reggie Rose said.
Derrick Rose quickly released a statement to diffuse any potential rift between him and the organization.
"I always felt that the Bulls organization's goals have been the same as mine and that is to bring another championship to this city," Derrick Rose said in that statement.
This fluid situation is increasingly awkward, fans are growing frustrated, especially when they see glimpses of Rose before games working out and shooting jumpers. Many think he is ready to return.
I wonder if Derrick Rose would be playing, if he was not receiving his annual salary. Rose is currently under contract for over 16 million this season, which is makes him the top paid player on his team. Organizations in the future, may require language in contracts which suggests:
Once a player is cleared medically by team doctors and independent medical staff, player must play. If player decides he or she is not "mentally ready" to play, player will not receive any compensation until player starts playing.
Bulls fans are wondering what this season could have become. Bulls ended the historic Miami Heat streak at 27 games and then closed out the Knicks 13 game-winning streak as well, while sweeping the season series.
The proclaimed "streak stoppers" are poised for a deep playoff run, but they will need Derrick Rose, the hometown savior, to lead them in to battle and compete for a NBA championship.
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Eric N. Ellington