COMMENTARY | Will he or won't he? The possible return of Derrick Rose has transformed from something eagerly anticipated, to a bit of a nuisance. No one in the Chicago Bulls organization seems to know if or when the superstar will participate in an actual game this season. With a waffling between politically correct statements that carry absolutely no meaning, and references to perhaps sitting out the entire year, not even Rose seems to know. Although, he has been participating in full practices, has been medically cleared to play and by all accounts looks ready.
Meanwhile, his team, which began the season playing far above expectations and frequently applauded for valiant efforts, has begun to sputter. The Bulls recently received a 42-point bludgeoning from a 23-44 Sacramento Kings team playing without arguably its best player in DeMarcus Cousins. Every team has an off-night or experiences a letdown against inferior opponents every now and then, but games such as this have lately not been an aberration.
Since February, the Bulls have suffered double-digits defeats to the San Antonio Spurs, twice, once with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili all resting; and 30 or more point losses to the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder. There was also that loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, though by only three points was still humiliating because the Bulls were playing at home and the Cavs were without All-Star Kyrie Irving. Embarrassing losses have become a trend and these are just to name a few.
Perhaps the team is simply wearing down after a long season of playing expanded roles. However, it is not a stretch to wonder if the uncertainty of Rose's situation has become a distraction for the Bulls. In his absence, the team and the season have been kept afloat. Not to insinuate that players did it for Rose, but there was always the sentiment that this was temporary-- that they were "holding it down" until Rose could rejoin them. Yet, here we are with less than a month left in the NBA regular season and there is still no timetable for his return. His teammates have held up their end of the bargain, now Rose must uphold his.
Rose alone is the authority on whether he is ready for action, and rightfully so. The last thing anyone wants is for him to take the court prematurely and risk a setback. But there must be a decision one way or the other, soon. His teammates deserve to know. They deserve the opportunity to mentally prepare themselves for finishing the season and entering the playoffs without their most gifted asset, if need be.
The time has come for Rose to offer something more concrete as far as potentially suiting up-- a date, a game, a week, something. This would allow the Bulls organization to adequately arrange for his return, or not. Either way, a resolution permits all invested parties, Rose, his teammates, coaches and fans alike, to move forward.
Acamea Deadwiler is a Chicago-area native with several years experience covering the NBA, including the Chicago Bulls, for Examiner.com. She has also been featured in Bounce magazine, SLAM Online, and various other publications. Follow Acamea on Twitter @AcameaLD.
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