The second 'Derrick Rose Rule' was in full effect on Thursday, as the fallen Chicago Bulls star met with the media for the first time to speak about his second consecutive season-ending knee injury. Rose sounded as defiant as you'd expect from someone in his position, emphasizing the torn meniscus in his right leg was just another hurdle and that his story "wasn't over yet".
There was an obvious headline-grabbing quote, with Rose leaving open the possibility for returning at the end of the season.
If I'm healthy and the situation is right, I'm going to be back playing. If I'm healthy and my meniscus is fully healed, of course I'll be out there playing, but if it's something totally different and the outcome is not how I would want it to be, it's no need.
K.C. Johnson threw his signature bucket of cold water on this immediately, and maybe it was a case of Derrick getting lost in the moment, but those few words opened up a possibility for not only a potential return but also speculation over whether or not that return should and will happen. Cue moans of "here we go again" after the tidal wave of rhetoric that overwhelmed his extended rehab from a torn ACL a year ago, but I find a collective eye roll to be an inappropriate response in this situation.
Talk is talk, and words can only cut so much. Who cares what people say. If Derrick is healthy enough to play this season, he should play. Taking nearly twice as long as the doctors recommended to recover last time obviously did not help him in avoiding future injury. Derrick noted how much less severe his current injury is from the last one, saying he could already bend his knee, something he couldn't do for months with the torn ACL.
It's natural to get annoyed by the "will he/won't he" speculation, and I still believe no one should expect him to play this season, but that Derrick isn't ruling himself out completely is a good thing, I think. Of course, his camp's decision not to rule him out completely last year is what created such a toxic atmosphere, but the real problem with that saga was that the decision was already made without it being announced. That may not be the case this time.
This injury is simply not as bad as his last one. If Derrick wants to push it to come back and play, I think that's the right thing to do. Forget any delusions of Derrick leading the Bulls to the championship -- he literally had the worst field goal percentage in the league on the day of his injury -- but I would think playing in games would only help his rehabilitation. I thought he should have come back from the torn ACL when the doctors cleared him last season, not to lead the Bulls to some sort of invisible salvation, but just to play basketball again.
The dude needs to realize he isn't Superman. The only thing separating the torn ACL he and Iman Shumpert suffered on the same day in the 2012 playoffs is circumstance (note: Shump also tore his meniscus in his injury). If he can play, he should play, even if he isn't returning to 110 percent health. That's what basketball players do. They play basketball. You can't keep him in bubblewrap until he turns 30.
OK! So D. Rose said other stuff, too. Here are the highlights from some of that other stuff he said:
"I could get hurt 10 more times -- I'm never going to stop...I play a unique way of playing basketball, I can’t change that."
Asked about people who say the Bulls should consider moving on without him, Rose said, "You can be a fool if you want. I know I’m going to be all right. ... I believe that I'm a special player."
"With this injury, I'm able to get back on the court a lot quicker."
There you go. I don't expect Derrick to play again this season. You shouldn't either. But if he can play? He should!
I'm glad we're all the same page. Go Bulls.