As a die hard Chicago Bulls fan, I think I can speak for most fellow fans when I say that it has been a tiring past few years seeing constant headlines questioning Derrick Rose’s toughness and whether or not he can comeback after suffering two severe injuries to his knees. Last fall we all thought that those questions would be coming to end as Derrick Rose was finally making his return. Just when we saw glimpses of the old Derrick starting to come back after 10 games, our nightmares came back instead as he would miss yet another season from an injury. While it was a big blow to the team, it didn’t keep them down for long. It was an exciting season to watch Joakim Noah, who went on to become the defensive player of the year, and to see the electric plays from D.J. Augustin and Taj Gibson.
While the Bulls went on to finish as one of the top teams in the 2nd half of the season, the fun ran out quickly. The Washington Wizards beat the Bulls in just 5 games in the first round of the playoffs. There was a lack of consistency throughout the series. Whenever the offense would find a little spark, the defense went cold. Whenever the defense started to get something going, the offense was nowhere to be found. Quite frankly, the entire team just looked exhausted which exposed their lack of depth on the roster. The last two seasons have proved that even though it’s fun to watch guys step up and make exciting plays (Nate Robinson and D.J. Augustin for example), the Bulls need their MVP.
Derrick Rose is hard at work once again this off season to prepare for his second return from a major injury. Derrick Rose was quoted the other day saying, “I still have goals. Seeing those doubters out there, it’s gonna be funny seeing them eat their words.” While his confidence seems high, it’s still uncertain how far into the season it will take for the 2011 MVP to get back into All-Star form, if he does at all. While I don’t know if we will ever see him return to the player he was before the injuries, I believe Rose can still put up big numbers and make explosive plays, but perhaps that’s my heart talking.
Every year there are athletes who retire at a young age due to injuries that cut their careers short. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t start to question Rose’s toughness at one point. I think those questions came more out of frustration of wanting to see Derrick come back as soon as possible after his first injury but he instead played it safe and sat on the sidelines a whole season. Rose has been the center of injury jokes in sports over the last few years. He has been called “washed up”, “done for”, and “finished” more than any human being can count even though he hasn’t had a chance to prove himself on the court yet after these injuries.
One thing is for sure, I will never question his toughness again. Very few athletes are able to keep a high level of confidence and get right back to work to try and prove doubters wrong after suffering two major injuries. Whatever happens this season, I believe there should be a level of pride within the Bulls organization and fan base to have a kid work hard to try and bounce back after experiencing two big blows to what was once a bright young career. The Bulls’ off season moves seem to be coming to a close and now we wait for October to see this new look roster in action led by the former MVP.