In the third game of the 1985-1986 season, Michael Jordan broke a bone in his left foot and missed all but the last 15 games of the year. Jordan led the Chicago Bulls in scoring in eight of those games and he helped the Bulls make it to the postseason. If any of us thought Jerry Reinsdorf did not have regrets with allowing Jordan to come back, that is certainly not the case. Here are a few of the comments Reinsdorf offered when questioned about Derrick Rose's injury during a call into ESPN 1000:
"I made that mistake with Michael Jordan years ago where I think we let him come back too soon. It worked out OK, but it might not have. This time I am not going to make that mistake. Until the doctors say he's 100 percent and they put their reputations on the line, he's not coming back." Here are my thoughts on why I think Reinsdorf has the right idea.
One of the reasons why the Bulls should not attempt to accelerate Rose's return is the talent level of the remaining players on the roster. While no one can single-handedly replace his production, there are enough pieces in place to keep the Bulls in playoff contention until he returns in February, or even March. I still don't think they will win 50 games, but they are capable of making the playoffs. This will especially hold true if the bench shows the ability to complement the starters the way it has over the past two seasons.
Prior to the start of the 2011-2012 season, the Bulls and Rose reached an agreement on a five-year deal worth approximately $95 million. With so much money invested in the franchise player, allowing him to return to the lineup ahead of schedule would be unwise to say the least. In doing so, Rose could re-aggravate the injury or risk suffering a different injury, which could cause him to miss the entire season altogether.
The Bulls won 50 games last year, 18 of those victories came with Rose out of the lineup. Whether or not the team will have the same level of success without its star point-guard next season remains to be seen. Even if the Bulls did miss the playoffs, it would be wise to keep him out until the injury has completely healed, rather than bringing him back too soon and risk jeopardizing his long-term future with the organization.
James Tillman III is a resident of the Chicago-land area, who has been a Bulls' fan since the 1987-1988 season. James is also a Featured Sports Contributor for Yahoo! Network and a Sports Journalist for Sports Rantz Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @jtillman9693
Rose will not be rushed back from knee surgery, Scott Powers, ESPN Chicago.com
Done tempting fate, Melissa Isaacson, ESPN Chicago.com