Another thing or three on Derrick Rose's ACL injury. It's something you may be sick of talking about, but also can't stop thinking about...or is that just me?
Let's start with a follow-up to the weekend story that was seemingly (to me) raced out there: that fatigue or previous injuries in no way played a role in the injury. I maintained it certainly was possible and even made logical sense, even if there's no general correlative (let alone causal) evidence. I mostly was turned off by the certainty displayed by some that insisted it was silly to even think it'd be a factor.
I don’t pretend to know the complex things going on inside a player’s body during a the slog of a compressed schedule. Playing more games per day has obvious effects; players have been exhausted, bruised and possibly sleep-deprived. Perhaps being all of those things makes a player more prone to injury in ways we just don’t understand and that won’t necessarily manifest themselves with a jump in the number of injuries during a few months.But if you are making the simple mathematical argument that the lockout resulted in a greater number of injuries, you are lacking evidence.
And even that's more of a statement in general than it is specifically about Rose, who hadn't played a full, 100% healthy game in over 6 weeks. These are potentially changed variables to a simple 'should stars play late in playoff games?' argument or one about the shortened season.
And since that time, other (real!) doctors have provided a bit more nuance to the issue. One can be heard on this interview at 670AM saying that Rose's variables aren't proven to be causes of such an injury but can't be ruled out. And then this one downright says the injury happened because of muscle fatigue. Now, that's a certainty the other way I won't rush to either. But, again: I just didn't get the lack of reflection taken by a lot of the media covering the team, and hope the Bulls (including Thibs, and Rose himself) take more care and evaluate how they handled this season and what can be done differently next year.
And they also perhaps want to rethink, how they sell the hope of Rose's recovery. Because while the Bulls promised before game two that there was a big inspirational surprise, it turned out to be kind of a bummer:
The ace up the United Center's sleeve, apparently, was a hobbled Derrick Rose, who took the court in street clothes to present the game ball just before tip-off. If the sight of Rose limping with a bulky knee brace for an unwanted photo op was supposed to be the Bulls' "win one for the Gipper", it missed the mark. The crowd cheered because they had to, because Rose is the lifeblood of this city. But, more than anything, it served as a tangible reminder that, yes, Derrick Rose has sustained one of the most serious injuries in sports, and he won't be coming back anytime soon. If this was intended as a rallying cry or a pump-up tactic, perhaps the Bulls need to reexamine their methods.
If you don't want the injury itself in your face, and have moved on into the long, bleak, future, take note of this post at The Basketball Jones that takes a look at ACL injuries and the types of NBA players who come back from them. It's encouraging, yet of course inconclusive. A lot of things are on Derrick Rose's side but we'll be a long way from finding out.