Should Chicago Bulls PG Derrick Rose Be Playing Without His Mask?


Chicago Bulls PG Derrick Rose played without his mask for the first time since surgery… Good idea?

Derrick Rose stepped onto the court in the second half of Thursday night’s primetime game against the Los Angeles Clippers and neglected to put on his protective face mask. It was a mistake, but Rose ultimately chose to play out the half without it on. The Chicago Bulls won the game 83-80, and Rose certainly looked more comfortable on the court.

“It was my decision,” he said to ESPN. “When I went out there [for the second half], play started, I forgot to put it on. And I said, ‘You know what? I’m just going to leave it on the side.’ It ended up working out for me.”

The PG didn’t score in the first half, but he notched 11 points in the second with nine of those coming in the fourth quarter. But should he be leaving his face mask in the locker? He is probably just getting used to being able to shoot with it on, and it seems a bit reckless to leave it off when other teams could potentially target his face as an area to bring Rose down. The point guard admitted that he drove the lane less ferociously than he used to in order to protect his face, and you have to think that the fear would be even greater with less armor on.

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He has been cleared by the medical staff to take it off if he wishes, but I’m not sure it is the best idea. This mask has kind of given him a different aura on the court, and although his shooting numbers have been pretty wretched in the early season, the facial gear could end up feeling like a kind of security blanket for Rose much as it did for Richard Hamilton. That is obviously all arm-chair psychology, but it is just my gut instinct on the topic. Rose hasn’t decided yet whether to wear the mask in their next game, but he should have some sort of idea after going through practice today.

Fred Hoiberg played the PG less than four minutes in the second quarter of Thursday’s game, but this was apparently because Rose told his head coach that he was winded. Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Brooks carried the load while Derrick was sitting. One of Rose’s higher-profile teammates didn’t realize that he wasn’t wearing the mask.

“I didn’t even notice that, you know that?” Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler said. “I wasn’t even paying [attention to that]. I’ll be so locked into the game — I like that, though. As long as he’s aggressive taking shots, man. That’s the Derrick that we need. He’s getting it back slowly but surely, and I think he was huge for us, mask or no mask.”

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Butler is right that the Bulls need Rose in order to succeed, and hopefully the PG will make the best decision possible for him when it comes to his face. I think everyone here knows where I stand on this issue for now, but feel free to disagree with me on the comment board. If you missed Thursday’s game, then be sure and

check out Michael Whitlow’s article about it

. The Bulls will next play against the

New Orleans Pelicans

on Saturday, and we should know more about how Rose feels about his mask at that time.