Previous ArticlesRose hurt in Bulls loss to Trail Blazers
Rose to have surgery for meniscus tear
by Sam Smith
Posted on Nov 23
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And then he was gone, again.
So now we know. It’s bad for Derrick Rose, but not the worst, not the dreaded anterior cruciate ligament tear like Rose suffered in April 2012 from which he’d made a gallant recovery.
Until Friday in Portland, anyway, when Rose, as the Bulls announced Saturday afternoon after an MRI, sustained a medial meniscus tear to his right, or other, knee that will require surgery.
It came after halftime in the loss to the Trail Blazers as Rose made a backdoor cut and slid in trying gather in a bounce pass from Joakim Noah. Innocent looking; devastatingly depressing.
There are a variety of treatment options, most of which I don’t understand having gotten a journalism degree, which basically means I write down what other experts say. The medical experts aren’t saying yet, and it seems the Bulls and Rose and the doctors all are still examining the options.
There’s a relatively short-term possibility involving a cutting or shaving where a player can return within weeks or a month or so, like then Laker Ron Artest did last season. More common is to repair the damage like the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook had done and he returned in November at a high level of play after being out almost seven months. That generally is the process recommended to younger players. And Dwyane Wade told Miami reporters in training camp he regretted not following that process when he had the surgery in college and suggested it had contributed to his knee problems during his career.
My guess, very much uneducated at this point, is Rose does not play again this season.
Which is way worse for Rose than it is for the Bulls, who move on with Sunday’s early afternoon game against the Clippers.
Franchises have much longer natural lives.
It’s heartbreaking, really, even though it’s sports, to have seen how hard Rose worked to come back from his 2012 knee surgery, how dedicated he was and how much joy he gained from the game. Though perhaps not as much as he gave.
It’s been a thrill to watch him again, to see the speed, the explosive moves to the basket, the power and grace and infectious competitiveness. Great ones don’t come along often. And less so when they not only exude joy for the game but make you feel good about sports.
It’s a delight just to watch Rose back doing his media interviews. He’s generous with his time, always polite and answering in full. Win or lose, it’s not your fault. Not that he doesn’t care. He cares too much. But he also seems to give thanks every day that he’s able to play the game he loves so much and to share the elation.
I’ve never been around an athlete who handled the criticism about why he didn’t or wouldn’t play last season, the cheap accusations, with so much grace and equanimity. Rose never, not once, became angry or defensive. He always said he understood, said he could see why people would be angry given they wanted to see him play. C’mon, who answers like that?
It’s not that Rose doesn’t have the fight in him. He has the skill of the greatest ever but also the nature that comes from the worst circumstances ever, and he’s a kid who doesn’t forget.
Yes, Rose is wealthy. But he knows he came from a tough Englewood neighborhood and how fortunate he was to do what he loves to do and have a life so many of his friends and family could not. He feels for them. He’s grateful for who he is, and he doesn’t forget who he was, that his is a gift to be nurtured and never taken for granted.
Derrick never went uptown on anyone.
Those commercials the stars do aren’t always biographical. But Rose’s was when he talked about the game transcending everything. It is for him. And you hate to see that taken away from him once again.
There’s never good news in these sorts of things, though news that could have been worse.
At least we have our health? Well, not yet for Rose.
He truly has faith, and that will help him. He believes things happen as they should, and I never once heard him say or heard anyone say he asked why him or why these things happened. It was just back to work and always a positive to it, like Rose talking about how the 2012 ACL injury would help him take care of his body better, make him work on his shooting.
It’s honest when he says things like that. You wouldn’t believe it when some people say it. You believe it with Rose if you have been around him at all.
He’s quiet, someone who does his social work more viewing than interviewing. He watches people and understands better than many would think. He doesn’t miss much, and his sense of who people are and whom to trust is revealing.
His delight is being one of the group, one of the guys, which is also why this hurts so much more.
To see Rose around his teammates is to see a seamless transition. This notion of a leader that gets thrown around in sports is specious. There are so few. Most teams don’t have one. Rose doesn’t demand; he shows what he can do. But at the same time he commands respect for the combination of skill and decency.
You maybe don’t want to let down someone like Michael Jordan because of the fear of doing so. You don’t want to disappoint Rose because he wants so much for you to do well. Many talk about wanting to win and being about winning, but Rose shows it like few do with the unrestrained pleasure he gets from seeing teammates doing well.
I was always most struck by the stories I’d hear from teammates and coaches about Rose in high school and college, subjugating his own game so that the college recruiters or scouts would notice others. He understood who he was. But Rose also knew it was no fun to be happy and successful without a team.
Rose’s teammates will miss what he can do, but much more so who he is.
It’s a reason why this Bulls group is so appealing. It’s always said when your best player practices hard you cannot help but go along and you’ll have success. The Bulls best player not only works like that, but he is as giving off the court with his friendship and decency. That’s another big reason the team can play so hard. They don’t want to let one another down, and that starts with the best player.
Rose and the Bulls were conservative with his injury last time, and it only seems to make sense to be so this time.
Rose’s much anticipated return has been a success the way he’s been fast and dynamic. And it’s oh so difficult to consider given he was coming on stronger, a 17-point first half Friday before the injury, a duel with the next great young point guard, Damiam Lillard, who was coming in a distant second. Sure, overall the points and shooting average haven’t been quite there yet in the Bulls 6-5 start, though really more from being away 18 months. Take a look at the numbers for Michael Jordan when he returned from being away from basketball about as long. They were the worst in his pro career.
Obviously, surgery remains unscheduled yet for Rose and no one knows what they’ll find. Last time as Rose practiced before games, leading to criticism, Rose asked not to be declared out. I understood. When there is hope, no matter how small, you feel more a part of the group and the game. Rose wanted to remain a part of the group, and it may come to that again. But the Bulls won’t rush and Rose clearly will and should do what’s best for the long term given he’s still just 25.
There’s many good years to come.
Which is also why the Bulls likely will not do much but play the rest of the games.
No one is tanking; not that there is such a thing, really. You can’t trade veterans with big contracts who are going to be free agents for draft picks in a good draft even if you wanted to. The Bulls don’t. Their talent is way too good to be too bad. They’ve still got at least two All-Stars and a strong defensive group and elite coach who accepts no excuses. They remain a playoff team. And like last season, it wasn’t a title team without Rose. But it was a heck of a season and playoff run.
Yes, no more talk of titles this season.
You don’t replace a league MVP. You don’t add players or trade for players or find players to do the things Derrick Rose did. You do the best you can without him and accept that your ceiling is diminished, if not dismissed.
I don’t see any major changes to the Bulls roster, if any at all.
Marquis Teague, Tony Snell and Mike James should get some more playing time.
But the Bulls still have an all-league defensive center, two-time small forward All-Star, double-double power forward and top defensive point guard. Jimmy Butler will return from his turf toe, likely in a few weeks. Taj Gibson is off to perhaps his best start. Enough to win with? Plenty of games, likely.
This was going to be a summer of potential change for the Bulls and it probably will. Still, transactions always depend on the circumstances of the season. We’ll have answers in April and May, not November and December.
The questions will be coming fast from critics, that Rose is injury prone and a repeat is inevitable.
Perhaps, but maybe not. After all, his left knee is fine. And a meniscus injury is not that uncommon in the NBA and doesn’t seem to inhibit players in a return. Avoiding another anterior cruciate injury was a sign of hope.
The issue is you don’t find players like Rose. And when you have one you don’t give up on him. The Bulls won 50 games exactly zero times between when Michael Jordan left and Rose came. And they had 10 lottery picks in that period. Maybe Rose is unlucky. Maybe he’s a Bill Walton or Gale Sayers or Bo Jackson waiting to happen, and all that potential never quite materializes in a long career, that his greatness is a comet’s tail flashing across the NBA landscape. It’s possible for anyone. Bad luck; it could be.
But maybe it won’t be.
Rose does put an awful lot of torque on his body the way he plays, so maybe he returns and doesn’t do it as much. I’ve asked veteran NBA people, and no one could ever remember anyone at that size who attacked the basket from the point guard position with such force and explosion as Rose. Perhaps he has to ease off that game. But he’d still be fast and can shoot and is obviously a hard worker. And you can be great with the skills he has, if not necessarily the league MVP.
Maybe we never see that Derrick Rose again of 2011. But there still seems an awful lot of terrific basketball player in there. When someone does basically everything humanly possible to remain at his job, you don’t let those workers get away.
We’ve seen many great basketball players have their careers shortened by injuries, players like Danny Manning and Penny Hardaway and Tracy McGrady. But we’ve also seen players come back to be All-Stars after two or three or four major injuries and years off, like Bernard King and Grant Hill. The medical treatments for such injuries are excellent, and the patient is as motivated as one can be. It’s a winning combination.
The future of the Bulls is with Derrick Rose, and there’s a strong chance it will remain bright. You don’t find people and players like this very often. So now you get behind them because you know they’re of the right stuff.