Derrick Rose is 100 percent healthy and ready to go!
“Sweet,” Chicago Bulls fans say in response. “The season ended two damn days ago.”
It’s cold comfort, some 26 months after seeing Rose in at his best in a Bulls uniform (2013-14 limited run was not him “at his best”), and especially with some four and a half months left to go before the 2014-15 season tips off, but Rose has full recovered from his right meniscus tear suffered in November, and if training camps were launched tomorrow, Rose would be ready to go.
Sadly, we have to suffer through an unending and oppressive summer before that sort of realization takes place. Still, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune has the good news:
As previously reported, Rose began taking full contact in the form of one-on-one or two-on-two or three-on-three offday sessions late in the first-round series against the Wizards. Rose has had no setbacks and, if the season started tomorrow, would be fine to play. He remains on schedule to participate in the Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas at the end of July and hopes to make the World Cup team that will compete in Spain in late August through early September.
(Bulls fans have heard this before.)
D-Rose announced as 100% immediately following the end of the Finals for the second year in a row is the only proper way to end the season.
— Ricky O'Donnell (@SBN_Ricky) June 17, 2014
As we’ve bleated about endlessly, Rose’s meniscus tear in a lot of ways is far scarier than the ACL tear he suffered in April, 2012. It’s true that the ACL tear was to his left, “jumping,” knee; and it did knock him out for the entire 2012-13 season, but meniscus tears often have far longer lasting effects. Though the recovery time is quicker than you’ll usually see with ACL tears, for a lot of NBA players a torn meniscus is the first step toward the eventual wearing away of a once-healthy knee.
This is why Chicago determined that Rose should undergo a full meniscus re-attachment, and not some quicker procedure that would leave him prone to further injury at some point down the road. Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook, possibly the league’s closet clone to D-Rose when both are at their best, had to undergo two follow-up surgeries to a meniscus he tore in April, 2013, and didn’t truly look his consistent best until a full year after his initial tear.
As K.C. noted, though, Rose will have plenty of sound competition to test his two surgically-repaired knees against in both July and during his expected run with at the initial World Cup in late summer. We say this, because Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski mentioned as much in talking on local Chicago radio on Tuesday:
"We feel that Derrick is going to be ready to go," Krzyzewski told co-hosts David Kaplan and Tribune columnist David Haugh. "But we'll see that week. Hopefully, he is. He was my starting guard (for the) world championship team in Instanbul, Turkey in 2010."
"I love Derrick; he's a special guy," Krzyzewski said. "I feel bad that these last couple years have interrupted what should be a sensational career for him. Hopefully, this will be a jump start to the NBA season and maybe we can win the World Cup along the way."
That mini-camp starts on July 28, and who knows – perhaps by then the Bulls could have swung for the fences in acquiring a superstar like Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Love to play alongside their returning franchise player!
Or, the team could symbolically refuse amnesty the final year of Carlos Boozer’s contract, they could keep both mid-first round draft picks and work around the edges to restore depth and retain “assets” moving forward, while returning both Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson in their primes, and hoping Rose and coach Tom Thibodeau can carry the team as was the case from 2010 until his ACL tear.
Anything is possible!
Chicago’s future, as has been the case since its pivotal 2010 offseason, is up in the air once again. The team has myriad options and quite a bit of potential during the free agency period, but even if the ownership group that runs the Bulls decides to pay extra for a potential championship contender, there is no guarantee that the team’s front office will be able to make the moves needed to secure both another star, while adding to the team’s limited depth. Timing and luck play a big part, as does the presence of trading partners, and it’s more than possible that Chicago could miss out this summer even while working with the best of intentions, while considering basketball first and payroll concerns secondly.
Should that Big Whiff happen, the team will merely have to console itself with the idea that, once again, Noah and Gibson are in their primes, and that Derrick Rose has played just 10 NBA games (along with assorted exhibition and international contests) since April 28, 2012. And that the long-term approach in letting him just about sit out two NBA seasons will provide the 2011 NBA MVP with the needed cushion to come back from two completely different career-altering knee surgeries.
That’s the hope at least. Still, if the season started tomorrow, Derrick Rose is ready to roll. Dig that knowledge, while watching a baseball game.
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