Derrick Rose was on the bench for the Bulls' Game 2 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night, but don't expect him to be back on the court anytime soon. A source told CBS's Ken Berger that Rose will not play in the first round series vs. the Nets, or for the "foreseeable future", whatever that means.
I know there's a strong B-a-B contingent holding out hope Rose would play in the postseason, but I always found that very hard to believe. If he was seriously considering coming back for the playoffs, why not give it a go during the Bulls' cupcake-filled late-season schedule? It just wouldn't make any sense.
"He really wants to play," teammate Luol Deng was saying in the visiting locker room, after the Bulls became the first road team to win in these playoffs with a 90-82 victory in Brooklyn on Monday night. "And this decision, even though people are coming down on him, it's really killing him. It's really hurting him. I know how much he wants to be out there with us."
"If Derrick comes in this locker room and says he wants to play tomorrow, his uniform is ready," Deng said. "If he doesn't, we're with him 100 percent."
It is vaguely reminiscent of an experience from Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau's past life, when he was an assistant with the Knicks in 1997-98. Patrick Ewing had fractured his wrist in December and missed the rest of the regular season -- a career-threatening injury and one from which Ewing never fully recovered. But he made it back for the second round of the playoffs, a series the Knicks ultimately lost to their bitter rivals at the time, the Pacers.
"That experience taught me that it's the right thing to do," Thibodeau said. "If Derrick can come back, we want him back."
Jason and I went back and forth on Twitter over this way too late last night, but here's my quick take: the Bulls won't publicly shut down Rose for two reasons:
- There's no physical or tangible hurdle for Rose to clear
- Ideally, they want him back
Which is to say: the only thing preventing Derrick Rose was playing is waking up one day and feeling like he wants to play. I truly believe that.