Rose’s Thorns

After the 2010-2011 NBA season, if you would have asked anyone in basketball who the NBA’s top 5 players were, Derrick Rose would undoubtedly have been mentioned. Rose became the league’s youngest player to be named MVP after the 2010-’11 season, one that saw him average a team high 25.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists. Rose lead his hometown Chicago Bulls to an Eastern Conference Finals birth in the ’10-’11 season, but since, has been limited to appearing in just 96 of the Bulls’ regular season and playoff games.

The following ’11-’12 season, Rose experienced the first of what would turn out to be a litany of career defining injuries, when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee during the 2012 playoffs. That ACL tear forced Rose to be sidelined for all of the 2012-2013 season before returning to the Bulls during the 2013-’14 season. Rose’s ’13-’14 season was cut short again after just 10 games due to a torn medial meniscus in his right knee, the same injury Rose suffered Tuesday that will likely sideline him for the remainder of the 2014-’15 season.

Prior to the beginning of this season Rose had been followed by an unbelievable cloud of doubt regarding his durability and the approach with which he took towards rehabbing previous injuries. Much of that doubt was silenced as a seemingly healthy Derrick Rose helped lead the United States to a FIBA World Championship, and though Rose only showed flashes of his former self, there were many who saw this past summer’s FIBA tournament as a turning point for the 26 year old Chicago native.

The Chicago Bulls have continued to remain faithful to D Rose, shown through their commitment to build the roster around Rose. The Bulls organization added international All-Star and NBA champion Pau Gasol (through ’16-’17) in the offseason, witnessed the emergence of Jimmy Butler (likely the NBA’s Most Improved Player), while also signing a veteran starting point guard in Aaron Brooks as the teams insurance policy, which now seems like a prophetic move. The Bulls owe Rose approximately $60.2 million through the 2016-’17 season, it is not uncommon for hefty insurance policies to be taken out for contracts the size of Rose’s, which means the Bulls would likely receive some kind of payout to offset the amount of games they’ve lost Rose due to injury.

If the future about Derrick Rose’s career was in doubt before, Tuesday’s injury certainly will take the lid off of pandoras box. As the entire basketball world shakes its collective head in anguish for the one time MVP, many have also begun likening Rose to Penny Hardaway and Grant Hill, stars with sky high expectations and the talent to match, both of whom had their careers greatly diminished due to recurring injuries.

We are not going to completely throw in the towel on the 26 year old star, medical advancements and rigorous rehab routines have provided miracle-like results for the likes of Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III, but the list is short. Especially when you consider the fact that Derrick Rose has missed 192 of the possible 287 games over the last 3.5 seasons. With the collective bargaining agreement likely to open up the same summer as D Rose’s free agency, it will be interesting to see how Bull’s management handles their hometown star. At this point so much for one of Chi city’s finest seems foggy.

Then again, as sports so often shows us, only time will tell!