Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose was heavily criticized for the amount of time it took him to recover from a torn ACL last year. Despite that, D-Rose can't allow pressure to change his approach this time around.
According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Rose left Friday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers with a non-contact knee injury. He didn't return, and everyone now seems to be fearing the worst.
His status won't be known until the results of his MRI come back, per Johnson, but panic has already set in.
It was an ugly scene following the game, as Rose was photographed leaving the arena on crutches, as seen in this tweet courtesy of USA TODAY Sports.
That doesn't necessarily mean that he has torn his ACL again or any other knee ligament for that matter, but it does suggest that the ailment is fairly significant regardless.
When asked by Johnson if he was concerned about Rose's status, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau admitted that he was, especially due to Rose's injury history.
“He’s disappointed he couldn’t finish the game,” Thibodeau said. “Derrick’s a hard guy to read. He doesn’t show a lot of emotion. But we’re concerned.
“Again, I don’t want to speculate on what it is and what it might be, other than my concern for him. I know how much work he has put into his rehab and the type of person and player he is. So I feel for him because of all the things that he does and what they mean to our team.”
Regardless of what the MRI reveals, Rose can't allow outside pressure to influence him. He did a great job of ignoring the peanut gallery the last time he dealt with a knee injury. Rather than rushing back, Rose made sure that he was 100 percent healed. Not even that could protect him from the rigors of the NBA season, however.
Rose's cynics will probably suggest that missing an entire year contributed to his latest injury, but he hurt his right knee on Friday rather than the left one that he injured during the 2012 playoffs, so it's a totally separate issue.
Had Rose rushed back from his ACL tear, it wouldn't have prevented him from getting injured. His left knee would have been even more vulnerable, and hurrying back into action wouldn't have made the rest of his body any more durable either.
If Rose's injury is as significant as most expect it to be, then he's going to miss a lot of time. It may be a few months, the rest of the season or even a calendar year. If that is the case, then everyone involved will have a case of deja vu. Just because Rose's strategy of taking it slow technically didn't work last time, it doesn't mean that it isn't the right course of action in this instance.
At the same time, it's possible that Rose will avoid disaster. Even so, he shouldn't push the envelope. This is a major scare, and there is no telling how much more punishment his knees can take before he has to throw in the towel.
If the diagnosis suggests that Rose should sit out a couple weeks, then perhaps he should take a month to heal instead. It ultimately depends on how Rose feels, but the overarching point is that he must continue to recover at his own pace.
There is already a "here we go again" feeling among fans and media, and there is no question that Rose understands that. Succumbing to the pressure that comes along with it would be a huge and potentially career-ending mistake, though.
Rose is going to be getting advice from everyone and their mothers with regard to this latest injury, but the smartest move for him to make is to listen to himself and evaluate his own body just like he did last time.
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