As the Bulls prepare for their rubber match with the Heat this evening, one question remains on every Chicagoan’s mind. When is Derrick Rose coming back?
The Bulls have managed to maintain reasonable play during the absence of the 2010-2011 MVP, but competing for a run at the Eastern Conference Finals is not what the fans want. The fans want a seventh ring. We want to see Derrick lead his city to a championship, and we want to take down LeBron James in the process.
But just as Derrick has been patient over the course of his rehabilitation, the fans too must continue to wait.
The criticism is taxing, selfish and unfair. We must support Derrick, not put him down. No matter what happens at this point, he can’t win. If he does come back, he will start by playing 20 minutes a night as he slowly acclimates to the intensity of NBA play. He will not be the MVP D Rose that we all want to see. And he knows this, and doesn’t want to come back and be mediocre. He wants to come back and take over. Just because he is medically cleared to play does not mean that he will be the Derrick of old. So, as perfect as it would be for him to rejoin his teammates tonight against the Heat for a chance to end their 27 game win streak, it just isn’t going to happen. We need to be more realistic and patient because when he does come back, it will be as close to MVP Derrick as possible.
I blame the Bulls management for this extra drama that is making everything worse. People don’t seem to understand that mental preparation is just as important as the physical rehab. By releasing the information that Derrick has been cleared, it just puts more pressure on him to rush back into uniform. And if he is pressured back into play prematurely, there is a high probability that he reinjures himself because he will be too cautious and hesitant while playing.
Sure, we have our hopes high for a Derrick Rose playoff appearance, but this season may not be the time. The kid has a bright future, as does the franchise and at this point, patience is priority number one.