Derrick Rose says his knee is pain-free, which is encouraging, but it’s scary, too. We’ve seen Rose carried off or limping off the court so often in the last two years that it seems a curse to think he’s finally back for good.
What’s been most disturbing about Rose’s troubles is not that his knees have been creaky. It’s been the criticism he’s received from so-called fans of the game who have called him “soft” or a “punk” for trying to manage his court time.
Instead of valuing the man assuming control of his career, he’s been ripped because he did not come back when they wanted him to come back, as if they actually know what his body feels like or as if he didn’t want to play.
Rose was also ridiculed because he said he’s thinking of life after basketball, wanting to be able to play with his kids without pain. What’s wrong with that? Too many athletes give their all to the game and end up with only memories—and all kinds of body aches and pains—to show for it.
In any case, Rose reports no pain in his surgically repaired right knee and is optimistic that he can return before the regular season ends. Rose, who had a meniscectomy on his right knee Feb. 27, is hopeful that he can start taking contact in practice “this week or next week.”
“That would be the plan, but who knows?” Rose said last week. “Whenever I’m ready to come back, that’s when I’m going to come back.”
Smart disposition. He has had three knee injuries in the last two years—no need for him to get back too soon and have to deal with another rehab.
There were questions about Rose’s heart to come back from the last injury. But here he is—after a torn the ACL in his left knee in April 2012 and a medial meniscus in his right knee in November 2013—working his way back for another. Seems like a player who wants to play.
“I don’t have (pain),” Rose said. “I don’t have any. So that’s a good sign. The swelling is gone. So it’s all about just getting on the court.”
“I’m feeling good,” Rose said. “I’m trying to do all the right things, put all the positives in the bag and just try to go with it. It’s something that I’ve been doing for a long time with rehab. It’s a grind—definitely a grind—but I’m getting used to it.”
That’s too bad. But the hope from anyone who wants an amazing player to play at his highest level, healthy, should be pulling for him.
If he can gather himself before the playoffs, the Bulls become a contender again—even if he only plays a few regular-season games before the postseason.
“It’s different, but I’m a pro,” Rose said of the short window. “I think I’m good enough to be able to fit my way in. We can be pretty good. We can be really good. It’s just all about everybody being healthy, a little bit of luck, and everybody staying together.”
Next up is contact practice for Rose. That will be a strong barometer.
“Just been taking my time, being patient, doing everything I was supposed to do. Doing all the right things, and everything else is out of my control.”