We’ve been avoiding this scenario like the black plague, but it now may have fallen on Chicago. As we enter the final month of the season, we now need to face an increasing possibility: Derrick Rose’s 2012 Regular Season may be over.
Rose admitted that the injuries he’s sustained, most recently a groin injury which has kept him unable to run, are far worse then anyone initially thought.
“Yeah, it definitely is,” he said. “It definitely hurts, but if anything I’m hoping that it’s a blessing in disguise where the only positive thing I can look at is (that) I’m getting my rest a little bit.”
Now don’t get panicked, his regular season may be over — and please read into may as deeply as you can — but this doesn’t condemn his postseason eligibility. Just because Rose is shelved for the remainder of the season, it doesn’t mean he won’t play in the playoffs.
But Rose isn’t sure when he’s coming back and he still shows signs of pain when he tries to run through his regular routine. The Bulls haven’t made it official, they may never do so, but it’s looking like Rose is done for the rest of the regular season.
“I really don’t know,” he said. “If I knew that answer, it would make a lot of things easy. I don’t know. It’s going to take me a minute to get my rhythm back, but hopefully it takes a game, that would be great, but we will have to see.”
But this isn’t a bad thing at all.
When Rose tweaked injuries before the All-Star Break, a large faction of people were in favor of shelving Rose until after the break at the earliest. That didn’t happen and now we are caught in a nasty revolving door of injuries. Shutting down Rose may be the best option at this point.
Look at the progress the Bulls have made. When you suggest someone is done for the season they assume that means everything — the whole chalupa. But that’s not the case so don’t even begin to be under that impression for even a second. The Bulls do not need Derrick Rose, at least not right now.
They are 42-12, three and a half games in front of the heat and 11 games away from clinching home court advantage in the East and 4 games away from clinching the Central Division.
Why play Rose when he’s not needed? Sure it’d be nice and it may speed things up but the Bulls don’t need things to move fast right now they just need to get things done at whatever pace it takes. Chicago was 6-0 on the road in March, and finished 13-3 overall, largely without Rose in the lineup. They beat the Heat, clinched a playoff spot and have set themselves up well for the postseason.
What they need more then home court and more then winning the division and closing out the Heat is Derrick Rose healthy in the playoffs. The hard facts are without Rose the Bulls can get by in the regular season when you have games against real contenders sprinkled in between cushion games against the Raptors and Bucks.
But when it weeds down to the best of the best, the Bulls need theirs. They may be able to power past the Knicks, especially if Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin are missing, but the Pacers, Hawks and Sixers or whoever ends up against them in the second round will really give them a run for their money. If they get past that, the Bulls win at a maximum two games against the Heat without Rose before Miami destroys them.
With Rose, the Bulls are scary. Without him, every team they will face instantly gets a swagger boost steroids style and believes they can beat Chicago. When they happens — when the Bulls get blown out in a playoff game, that deflates Chicago and inflates everyone else.
So resting Rose for the rest of the season is truly in Chicago’s best interest. But knowing Rose and knowing the competitor he is, that won’t happen if he has anything to say about it.
“I think so,” he said when asked if he’ll return before the playoffs begin. “I think so, if it’s up to me. So yeah, I think I am.”
But this could be the first and really bad choice that Derrick Rose makes.