Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose missed yet another game with yet another injury on Tuesday against the New York Knicks. While Rose's latest injury does not appear serious and he should be able to go against the Miami Heat on Thursday, there remains some concern about whether he'll be able to stay healthy throughout the playoffs. We give our take.
Caleb: OK. Before we all freak out about Derrick Rose missing another game, let's get a few things sorted out here:
1) Exactly one of the injuries Rose has suffered can be considered to have happened in non-coincidental fashion. His turf toe, his sprained ankle and his groin injury were all random things that happened in the course of a normal basketball game. He missed a few games with back spasms earlier this year, which could easily be blamed on his turf toe and probably should be. So that's the only one that I was particularly concerned about.
2) The condensed schedule is playing havoc with his recovery times. More games in less time means that he's missing more games than he would in any other season. This causes him to rush back sooner than he might otherwise. In turn, less time off means that he's less able to recover without sitting out for extended stretches, which he doesn't want to do, because, again, that means missing a lot of games.
3) It's not hard to believe that the team as a whole has gotten better because they haven't had the crutch of relying on Rose. Sure, early on, it was easy to write off the success sans-Rose because the schedule was easy. But now, the Bulls have beaten the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks without Rose. All of those teams would make the playoffs if the season ended today. I have to think that being able to do that is going to help somehow, even if it only wins them a game or two.
So yes, it is annoying and slightly concerning that Rose has been injured as much as he has. But he played 97 games (including playoffs) last year at borderline ridiculous minutes. Yes, he wore down, but he should be pretty rested at this point. Oddly, if he can come back for the final eight games and get back to his usual level in time for things to get serious in the playoffs, all of his injuries may actually help.
So, no. I'm not worried. By all accounts he'll be back for tomorrow night against Miami (you know you're excited) and should be able to get back up to speed over the last two weeks of the season. Besides, what are we going to do at this point? Talk Scottie Pippen out of retirement?
Avi: Somewhat concerning.
Obviously with Rose playing the offense gets significantly better. Unfortunately, the compressed and intense season has kept Rose from having the time to relax, get healthy, workout in practices and get back into the game. As a result, he has been rusty and out of shape for most of the games that he's been playing, which has led to an increased number of injuries.
With eight games left in the season, Rose has very little time to both get healthy and get into game shape form. Personally, I believe the Bulls should rest him for the games against the Heat, pacers and possibly Mavericks, and then play him in the games against the Pistons, Wizards, Bobcats and Cavaliers.
By resting him in the games that are sure to be very physical but playing him in the "easier" games, the Bulls take out the possibility of re-injury and give time for Rose to get healthy but still allow for him to get back in the flow of the game.
The Bulls may risk giving up the one seed in the Easy by doing this, but winning in Miami (and potentially OKC or San Antonio) with a healthier Rose is easier to win at home without a healthy Rose.
Jason: I'm certainly not panicking about all the injuries, but I'd be lying if I said I was not concerned.
Rose has now missed games due to FOUR separate injuries this year, which is almost completely unheard of. Yes, this crazy season likely has something to do with it and I'm not all too worried about his long-term prognosis, but I do worry about his ability to stay in one piece and be effective during the grind that will be the 2012 NBA Playoffs. The guy could not even make it through one game back from a groin injury before injuring another part of his body. The injuries may have been unrelated, but still.
The Bulls have played pretty darn well without Rose in the lineup. A plethora of guys have stepped up and Tom Thibodeau has done a marvelous coaching job. But in the playoffs, the Bulls won't win anything of significance without the reigning MVP in the lineup. Hell, they won't win anything of significance with a Rose that's not playing close to 100 percent. They could definitely win a series or two, but I simply cannot see them winning anything more if Rose is not at least mostly healthy.
The good news is, this sprained ankle does not seem too serious and supposedly the groin is not much of an issue anymore. We just have to cross our fingers that Rose can put all these injury woes behind him and that he'll be ready to go full throttle in the postseason.
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