Derrick Rose Shouldn’t Play in Season Opener Against Cleveland


It’s been 19 days since Derrick Rose had to have immediate orbital bone surgery after he took an inadvertent elbow to the eye during the Chicago Bulls’ first practice of the season. Why take a risk and rush Rose back for the season opener next week?

In terms of odds, you probably have a much better chance of catching a Kyle Schwarber home run ball than finding out if Derrick Rose will play in the season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers before next Tuesday night in Chicago.

During the first practice of the year, Rose took an accidental elbow from forward Taj Gibson and had to have surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone on Sept. 30. The slated timetable for Rose’s absence was two weeks. Rose extended the table by a day, as he returned to Bulls practice at the Advocate Center on Oct. 15.

However, the uncertainty of Rose’s status remained. Rose was asked if he will suit up and give it a go on Oct. 27 for the season opener last Thursday afternoon and his response was just as questionable as his current eyesight.

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“Who knows?” Rose said. “My eye is getting better every day, so that’s the only thing I can worry about right now. … You really just got to wait, see how it feels when I’m able to open my eyes and the double vision is gone, so you just got to wait for it.”

Since speaking with reporters for the first time since the elbow, Rose has been fitted for a mask (similar to the one Rose’s friend/training partner Russell Westbrook wore last season) and has been working to get himself ready for the opener. But, even with some progression towards returning to game action, Rose’s status still remains anywhere from “questionable” to “doubtful”.

The regular season sits just eight days away and the co-face of the franchise isn’t progressing like the Bulls hoped he would. As much as some would like to blame Rose, there’s just not much you can do in a situation like this one. Rose has done everything he can to return and an eye is something that cannot be taken lightly. Playoff seeding and home-court advantage aren’t won in October.

Like many Bulls fans, Rose was thinking the same thing after his facial surgery. “At least it’s not my knees,” Rose told reporters during his media session last Thursday.

The upside to the Rose uncertainty is Rose’s attitude towards his return. Through five preseason games, the Bulls are playing with a looseness offensively that hasn’t been seen in Chicago for years. For an explosive player like Rose when he’s healthy, it makes all the sense in the world that he’s salivating over a chance to play in Fred Hoiberg‘s new offense.

Throughout this short period of time since Rose’s return to Bulls practice, it’s been a question of whether or not he’ll be ready for Opening Night. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Bulls host the division rival that knocked them out of the playoffs last year and the player that’s kept them from reaching the NBA Finals since Michael Jordan‘s second retirement. It’s a big game and the start of a new era for the Bulls. There’s no question Rose wants to be a part of it, but should he?

There’s a lot that can change in eight days, but the only thing that should change is ruling Rose out for the opener. Derrick Rose returning to action on the opening night of the NBA season would be great for everyone to see, but Rose’s long-term health and condition this season should be the focus. He’s shooting, but his eyesight is still a question mark, he’s not comfortable working out with the mask as of now, and he’s yet to play in a preseason game.

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Questions surround more than just his eye. What kind of shape is Rose really in? The Bulls are going to play at an up-and-down pace. Rose should be able to absorb contact in practice (which he hasn’t been cleared by doctors to do just yet) and get his body into shape again before thinking about suiting up next Tuesday night.

It’s more than just getting ready for one game. If next Tuesday night was Game 6 of a playoff series, it would be more understandable for Rose to keep the option of playing open.

When you look past next Tuesday, the Bulls open the season with four games in six nights, including two on the road in Brooklyn (the next night after the opener) and in Detroit. It’s an 82-game season. The Bulls haven’t had Rose healthy during their postseason runs in four years. There’s no point in rushing Rose through contact practices (without any preseason action) just for one game that means a minuscule amount.

In the end, it’s Rose’s (and the doctors overseeing Rose’s recovery) call. He himself hasn’t ruled out playing against Cleveland, but the best thing for him and the Bulls moving forward, would probably be to do just that.

Next: Looking at Derrick Rose's first comments since orbital bone surgery

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