“I felt like I’ve been managing myself pretty good. I know a lot of people get mad when they see me sit out or whatever, but I think a lot of people don’t understand that … when I sit out it’s not because of this year. I’m thinking about long term. I’m thinking about after I’m done with basketball. Having graduations to go to, having meetings to go to, I don’t want to be in my meetings all sore or be at my son’s graduation all sore just because of something I did in the past. [I’m] just learning and being smart.” – Derrick Rose, November 11,2014
I wasn’t happy with this quote but I didn’t write about it. Most reactions revolved around Derrick Rose‘s perceived selfishness for considering life after basketball. Sure, that’s there yet what hit me was the unsaid implication of this quote: Rose is in pain and he doesn’t have confidence his body will feel normal again. He was not going to make it to the playoffs and that would mean the Chicago Bulls would need to consider life after Rose wilts, a domino effect that is going to determine everything from Jimmy Butler getting paid to Tom Thibodeau’s future as the team’s head coach.
The day before the All-Star break, Derrick Rose had 30 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists and moved around well while playing 41 minutes in a win against the streaking Cleveland Cavaliers. Fast forward to two nights ago versus the Milwaukee Bucks – 8 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists in 33 minutes while shooting 1-of-13 from the field. That’s not a good look. Rose’s inconsistency says a lot more than any set of quotes can convey. Anyone following the Bulls closely was hesitant to proclaim he was back because he never put together a week of good games together. Simply a flash here, A flash there. The announcement of Rose’s torn meniscus in his right knee (the same knee from 2013) surprised no one. There are only three possible reactions from Bulls fans.
Reaction #1: We knew this was coming. We still have a squad. Just calm down.
Reaction #3: Accept fate, we will.
I’ve already had the unfortunate experience of cycling through each of those reactions within an hour of hearing the news. To make matters worse, LeBron James gets to coast to the Finals again. Should a bunch of unchallenging routes to the Finals stain James’ legacy? No, but it should be taken into account.
We won’t know how long Rose will be out until his surgery is complete later this afternoon. Unfortunately, the damage is done. No one has faith in Rose’s ability to return and play near an All-Star level. A fourth consecutive season cut short by injury shakes the confidence in even the most devout Rose fans. This is not a bad luck issue. Rose’s body can not hold up. Everyone needs to temper their expectations going forward.
He’s no longer capable of being a great player. Accept it. I haven’t yet, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take good advice when you read it.