First of all let me get one thing out of the way. Derrick Rose is not a pussy. Any meatball fan that yells about “heart” and “toughness” and how Derrick Rose is sitting while Nate Robinson is puking is a moron. A torn ACL can’t be compared to any of the other injuries and ailments that the rest of the team has struggled with. Nate Robinson was sick for 3 days, little different than an 8-12 month injury. People who say they won’t root for him again or that he’s a disgrace are idiots. Has this entire season been incredibly frustrating? Yes. Does it change my long term feelings as a fan of Derrick Rose? Absolutely not.
The problem with Derrick Rose isn’t that he’s a coward or somehow doesn’t want it as much as the next guy, the problem is that he’s listening to the wrong people, plain and simple. Somewhere along the line he stopped listening to his doctors and started listening exclusively to his brother Reggie and his agent BJ Armstrong. And what have they told him? Take your time, wait until you’re 100%, don’t rush it. Which is all good and fine, except for the fact that every ACL doctor in the world says the same thing about coming back, the final part of rehab is playing in a game. Dr. Cole, the doctor who operated on his knee, has said time and again that playing is the final step in rehabilitation. So what does that mean? That means he will never feel “right” until he plays in a real game, until his mind stops thinking and starts naturally reacting the same way it has thousands of times on a basketball court. The trust he has in his knee will never return if he doesn’t play, that’s just a fact. But that’s the piece that is missing. One side is telling him to wait until he feels 100% and the other side is saying, you will never feel 100% until you play at 90% first. It’s not Derrick Rose being a pussy, it’s simply Derrick Rose trusting people he has known his entire life, his family and friends instead of the team doctors. That may be dumb of him, it is actually very dumb of him, but that doesn’t make him a coward.
So to this series (D-Rose has already been ruled out tonight). As sports fans we all have knee jerk reactions. We all see something and immediately jump to a conclusion. Derrick Rose is sitting on the bench while Joakim Noah is playing on one foot therefore Derrick Rose wants it less and sucks and is an embarrassment to his team. That happens every time. And unfortunately, with the Bulls vs Heat being the marquee series in this round, the exposure and pressure on D-Rose is going to multiple times infinity. It’s unavoidable. Everyone will have an opinion. Every press conference will start out with a question about him. Every day his teammates and coaches will be asked the same exact question until one of them cracks and a quote is taken out of context and the whole thing spirals even more out of control. And ultimately what will happen is Derrick Rose’s legacy will be forever tarnished. Which sucks. Because he’s a great player with a great career ahead of him but that’s just the way it works. Something like this will be attached to him forever. It is inevitable. You get labeled as a coward and soft and it sticks forever, whether it is fair or not. So I hope, for the sake of D-Rose he wakes up. I hope he starts listening to his doctors and gives it a go. I know he’ll probably suck but that doesn’t really matter, because if he doesn’t play in this series it will be a LONG offseason of bullshit, and people will forever question his heart, and that’s too bad, because at the end of the day he’s just a 24 year old taking bad advice, something we all have probably done before.