Steve Kyler of HOOPSWORLD is reporting that, contrary to every single thing we’ve heard since April 2012, Derrick Rose will not have any minutes restriction upon his return from tearing his ACL more than 10 months ago.
I pause now, momentarily, as I attempt to phrase this in the most sane and reasonable way possible: Are they [expletive] insane????
Two things. First, the idea seems to be that by not putting any kind of artificial limitations on Rose upon his return, the Bulls believe he’ll be able to find his rhythm faster and be himself sooner. Per Kyler, their thought process goes something like this:
Think about this for a second, because this is the single most ridiculous, convoluted piece of logic to come out of a front office that spent the last eight months pretending a hard cap they imposed on themselves appeared out of nowhere one night and they were powerless to stop it. Based on this tweet — and I have no real reason to believe Kyler isn’t being faithful to the front office’s position, here — the Bulls would tell you Ricky Rubio struggled after his return not because he tore his ACL and essentially had to learn how to play basketball again, but because his team imposed a minutes limit on him, which prevented him from playing his game … or something. I don’t know.
Second, leaving aside everything I just said, and leaving aside the fact that every. single. player. who has ever torn their ACL has come back on a minutes limit — or at least some basic restrictions in an effort to make sure they don’t hurt themselves again — let’s think about what happens in the absence of a minutes limit, since the decision is apparently up to Tom Thibodeau, and Tom Thibodeau alone.
Suppose, in Rose’s first game back, the Bulls are playing the Denver Nuggets — a somewhat realistic assumption, as the Bulls play the Nuggets a week from today, and the team keeps hinting that Rose might be back within the next week or two. Suppose also the Bulls trail by three after three quarters and feel they have a real shot at winning, as Rose has 12 points and 5 assists in about 25 minutes and seems to be moving well.
Now, in the past, Thibs would likely opt to skip Rose’s traditional rest period early in the fourth and just let him play the whole quarter. And doing so in this instance would allow Thibs to avoid playing Nate Robinson. Why wouldn’t he do that? Thibs goes balls to the wall to win every game, which is why Joakim Noah and Luol Deng seem to play every minute of every game. What makes anyone think he would voluntarily decide not to play his best player if he can?
Under such a scenario, Rose would play about 37 minutes. That’s uncomfortably high for my taste. But apparently, the front office doesn’t care.
May God have mercy on our souls.