Derrick Rose Shouldn't Allow Bulls' Playoff Success to Influence Return

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IMay 8, 2013

Winning an NBA championship is not worth risking Derrick Rose's long-term health.

After all, the franchise's lone superstar talent is only 24 years old and coming off a torn ACL in his left knee. That's why Rose shouldn't allow the Chicago Bulls' surprising playoff success influence his return to the lineup.

Does Rose make the Bulls better?

Sure.

Does Rose improve their chances of upsetting the Miami Heat

Of course.

However, the risk of Rose returning before he's completely confident in his knee and his ability to lead Chicago on that knee is simply not worth the risk involved. The goal for Chicago can't be to win one championship in 2013, but to hoist multiple titles or at least have a shot to do so during the Derrick Rose era.

Rose has described the prospect of him returning this postseason as "still up in the air." Although he would be better suited making a definite statement about his return, his patient approach thus far has been wise.

More important than anything else, Rose has the support of his teammates, including Joakim Noah, who had strong words for those questioning the star point guard's reluctance to return (via ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell):

If you tore your ACL and you have to be the starting point guard and have the expectations that Derrick has, then maybe you can judge, but everybody who hasn't been in that situation before should really shut up because I feel like it's just so unfair to him and to this team. We're fighting, and everybody's going to just s--- on somebody who's been giving so much to this organization. It's crazy to me.

Noah's advice to the critics brings up another reason why Rose should continue to take his time: He's earned the right to return when he feels ready.

Being the 2011 NBA MVP, Rose has helped the Bulls become a legitimate championship contender over the past few seasons and returned Chicago to a level of dominance not seen since the Michael Jordan era.

Sure, the fanbase should want Rose back in the rotation, especially after taking a 1-0 lead against the defending champions in the Eastern Conference semifinals. But Rose's status as alpha dog in the Windy City has earned him the right to return on his own terms.

That said, if Rose gains enough confidence in his knee and his ability to make a return this postseason, he should—as long as his return is based on how he feels and he isn't rushed or influenced by his team's playoff success.

It will show in how Rose plays whether he's truly comfortable on that knee and ready to be going full speed. Therefore, it's possible that his presence could actually hamper Chicago if he's out there forcing the issue, or worse, hesitating. 

According to Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy, Rose may suit up in Game 3 for Chicago. And why not, as long as his decision to do so isn't dependent upon the result of Wednesday's Game 2?

Chemistry and style are not something the Bulls need help with in these playoffs. Tom Thibodeau's defensive-minded and at times ugly approach is clearly paying off, and the undermanned Bulls are playing with an edge and looking more dangerous than ever.

Seven players are averaging double figures in scoring this postseason, led by the surging Nate Robinson at point guard who is averaging over 18 points per game.

While Rose is an obvious upgrade at the position, Robinson is the hotter, more confident hand.

There's no doubt that Rose is selfless enough to return without limiting the opportunities of his teammates, but chemistry is fragile come playoff time. With players like Robinson, Jimmy Butler and Marco Belinelli overachieving and gaining in confidence with each and every minute of playing time, Rose is smart enough to know, especially after Game 1, that his Chicago teammates are capable of getting the job done without him.

At this point in his recovery, Derrick Rose's top priority should be his long-term health and making sure that the Chicago Bulls are relevant and contending for years to come. 


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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