I am rosier (pardon the pun) about the Bulls future than most other people. This is based on just how good the Bulls were this year and my optimism about Derrick Rose's recovery from a torn ACL. No one can say for sure if Derrick Rose will recover well enough by next year's playoffs for the Bulls to seriously contend for a championship, but many people who think the Bulls won't contend next year are basing their opinion on ACL recovery assumptions that are either misleading or flat out wrong. In this post I'll be going over some of the assumptions and inaccuracies I take issue with. Order: most egregious to least egregious.
- Derrick Rose will miss the entire 2012-2013 season or close to it- When D-Rose tore his ACL the most commonly cited recovery time was 6-8 months. A day before Dr. Brian Cole put the year timeline into everybody's heads the Chicago Sun Times reported that Rose was told to expect an 8 month recovery. Iman Shumpert, who tore his ACL hours after Rose, is targeting a January return. Even Dr. Cole himself said Rose should be back "playing at a high level" a year out from surgery. With these facts in mind its irresponsible for sports writers to declare Rose out for an entire year. 8-12 months is fine as the official timeline (The Bulls showing just how cautious they are prepared to be) but the working timeline should be 8-9 months (the time the modern athlete typically takes to return from ACL reconstruction.)
- Its logical to compare any athlete with a knee injury ever to an athlete who tore their ACL - It grates me when people base how Rose will recover from an ACL tear based on an athlete who didn't recover from an ACL tear. Michael Wilbon is one who likes to compare athletes who had microfracture surgery to Derrick Rose. Players such as Jason Kidd, Amare Stoudemire, Anfernee Hardaway, and Antonio Mcdyess are used as comps. Most anybody will tell you that recovery from a microfracture surgery is a dicier proposition than recovery from ACL reconstruction in this day in age. This one is lazy, but I understand it more because people are searching for star comparisons.
- It takes a minimum of two years to fully recover from ACL reconstruction- This is a lighter offense to me. It can very well take 2 years to recover from an ACL reconstruction, but there are way too many cases of players who come back and produce at a rate similar, and in some cases greater than, their pre-injury year(s) for me to accept that as fact (Nene, Corey Brewer, Jamal Crawford, Bonzi Wells, Baron Davis, David West, Al Harrington, to name a bunch.) Many of these players increased their PER in their ACL recovery year and the others had a comparable PER to the year they suffered the injury. It may not be reasonable to expect D-Rose to return without missing a beat, but making a full recovery by the time the playoffs roll around is. Every athlete recovers differently, but given D-Rose's age and work ethic, why not have a more positive prognosis?
It's hard to be optimistic as a Bulls fan when you think D-Rose is coming back in March at the earliest and will certainly not be the MVP caliber player he was next year, if at all. Unfortunately a lot of these ideas are coming close to being consensus opinion when they shouldn't be. Derrick Rose's injury casts a cloud over the Bulls upcoming season, but as I've illustrated that cloud could easily make way for the sun sooner rather than later.