The real story was sitting on the sidelines. No, not Derrick Rose, although he did sit on the bench for the first time since February. Trainer Fred Tedeschi is the person I was referring to. Bulls fans who frequent Twitter probably know him better as the “Fred” part of the irreverent hashtag #FredClearedHim.
On Friday, it was reported that Joakim Noah was in a fair amount of pain and was unlikely to play in game one. Then, suddenly, hours before tipoff, it was subsequently reported he would play. Then, about five minutes before tipoff, he was starting.
We here at PAE have complained at length about the various injury issues the Bulls have faced this year. And for the most part, that’s been a case of bad luck. But let’s examine the case of Mr. Noah. Noah started dealing with plantar fasciitis at the end of January. He missed a couple of weeks and then came back on Feb. 7 against Denver. He clearly wasn’t right either that night or the next in Utah. Within a few games, he was back to normal and we all kind of forgot about it. But on March 21, it flared up again and Noah missed another couple of weeks. He came back two weeks ago, on April 7 in a relatively meaningless game in Detroit. After that, he missed another week before playing in Orlando on April 15. He didn’t look healthy in that game or in the season finale on April 17.
Let’s also examine the case of Taj Gibson. Taj sprained his knee Feb. 24. He missed a little less than four weeks before returning on March 21. He played in 7 games, then reinjured the knee on April 2. He admitted afterward that he’d rushed back from the original injury.
And we want Derrick Rose to push himself to come back to this BS?
There’s been a lot of consternation about Rose’s “mental toughness” — which I consider to be one of the dumbest things ever — but let’s think about this. It’s clear at this point that Rose is still a little leery about playing in real games again, and it’s not hard to figure out why. The play Rose injured himself on was one he’d made hundreds of thousands of times in his life, but suddenly his knee had buckled and he didn’t know why. Sure, the doctors have told him he’s good to go, but would you trust a doctor when you’ve seen your teammates repeatedly cleared only to suffer the same injuries over and over?
Hell, Rose himself had issues with the training staff last year when he had his ankle taped, resulting in fluid accumulating in his ankle. I’d be distrustful of doctors too after that.
Here’s the point: The Bulls, all on-court issues aside, need desperately to figure out what’s up with their training staff. Because if they don’t, things are only going to get worse.