What are we to think of Derrick Rose? He used to take our breath away. Now we just hold our breath any time he takes a misstep.
A long-stemmed crystal wine glass seems less fragile.
An actual rose has more durability.
“I don’t know, man,” Rose said. “Just missing two years, now you’re just going to fall for no reason I guess, man. Just trying to work every day, put in consistent work every day. And don’t lose any confidence with these setbacks.”
He said this to gathered media after his latest setback last night, when he came up hobbling—again—with a few minutes left in the fourth quarter. This time, it was his hamstring. He said he thinks it was a cramp—hopes it was—instead of a strain.
But the Bulls and their fans held their collective breath as Rose gingerly made his way off the floor—again. It was an all-too-familiar scene.
He missed four games this season when he sprained—get this—both ankles. Now the hamstring. Before all this was the knee, a torn ACL that sidelined him all of the 2012-13 season. He played 10 games last season before tearing a meniscus in the knee that put him on the shelf for that season.
Bulls teammate Joakim Noah was not happy that a feeling of concern flies into the air when Rose limps off the court.
“Every time something happens to [Rose], people act like it’s the end of the world, and that’s f—ing so lame to me,” Noah said after the game.
Funny Noah would use the word “lame,” because it is Rose who has come up lame too often over the last three seasons for anyone to feel confident that Rose will be there for an extended period.
And as has been proven over the last two years, Noah, without Rose, the Bulls do not blossom.
It’s hard to be so uncertain about a player who just three years ago was the NBA’s MVP. His explosive play at the point guard position made him a unique and treasured player—and the envy of others at the position.
Now Rose is a question mark. Will he be healthy enough to lead the Bulls and return to all-star caliber form?
With the team Chicago has assembled, a healthy Rose could equate to an NBA championship. He’s that good and they are that strong when Rose is playing and not watching.
But the question of his availability looms, and the fate of the franchise rests on his health, whether Noah wants to admit it or not. Maybe this latest injury is just a tweak and he can resume playing without having to sit.
Hopefully, he will remain upright and the Bulls’ fan base will be able exhale, knowing Rose will be healthy and able. But don’t hold your breath.