Derrick Rose is fragile — there is no way to run around that statement any longer. He has suffered a toe injury, a back injury, an ankle injury and a groin injury that has caused him to miss 23 games this year and he sliced his nose open last night in addition to all this.
But we can now add a foot injury to the list of problems Rose has suffered through this year.
Rose injured his foot, the same foot he had ankle problems with, at some point last night against the Pistons according to head coach Tom Thibodeau. When Rose showed up at the United Center today he was noticeably limping, something Bulls fans are as sick a d tired of seeing as Rose is of getting fouled hard.
“I’m sick and tired of the cheap shots” Rose said after last night’s 100-94 win over the Pistons that saw Rose draw a flagrant foul when Charlie Villanueva smashed his face, cutting his nose open.
But Rose’s ankle is the story and his continued woes are becoming a serious threat to a title. The Bulls cannot win a title with Rose on the bench, no matter how many times they beat the Heat with him not being a factor.
Playoff basketball is a different beast and teams play a different style of basketball. Without Rose, the Bulls will struggle against the Knicks and may not even make it out of the second round.
The debate on whether to sit Rose or play him is still relevant and that’s a problem. He hasn’t been healthy all season long and may be shut down for the season now. This was suggested when he hurt his groin and it’s painfully still relevant.
There was suspense on whether or not the Bulls could win and close out the top seed with Rose sitting. So far they’ve managed to do that. The only two games Rose has played against contending teams the Bulls either lost or won without any help from him. His career low 2 points against the Heat were not a determining factor in the 10 point win and his efforts against the Knicks were in vain as New York won in overtime.
He was the reason the Bulls won last night against the Pistons which in of itself creates an entire thread of arguments as to his importance down the stretch. If Rose sat last night he wouldn’t have been inured but would the Bulls have won? Could someone else had made that game tying shot?
These are questions we shouldn’t be asking. Rose should be healthy but he’s consistently not and that needs to become the Bulls top priority. Nothing else matters. Not the top seed, not playoff positioning. Because without Rose it’s all meaningless; without Rose the Bulls can own home court but the intimidation factor is gone.
The Heat will be so injected with swagger-roids without Rose in the lineup they very well could sweep the Bulls.
So this is not a ho-hum issue. Rose is hurt again and he may not make it through the playoffs. It was assumed last year the Bulls could beat everyone in the playoffs. The same assumption is being made about Rose’s health come the post season, like the playoffs will be some gypsy cure to his ailments and he won’t be bothered by them any longer.
That’s a wrong assumption and we need to get used to a world where Rose is maxing out at 75 percent and he’s vulnerable at that.
Bottom line is Rose needs to be healthy and he won’t be in time for the playoffs. It’s time for plan B.