Rose Shrugs Off Rusty Return

CHICAGO – It didn’t take long for the joke to start flying around the Chicago Bulls’ locker room, crammed as it was with reporters and camera crews after the 96-86 overtime victory over the Miami Heat Thursday at United Center:

With that victory, the smart alecks said, the Bulls improved to 17-7 without Derrick Rose …

The punchline in that was apparent in the box score: Rose started and played 25 minutes, 28 seconds in only his second appearance in a month. It merely seemed that Rose wasn’t involved, given his poor production when he was on the floor (1-for-13, two points, eight assists, three turnovers, no free-throw attempts) and the long minutes he spent off it. The Bulls’ point guard participated for only 2:41 in the fourth quarter and not at all in the five-minute OT session.

But he was laughing along with anyone else who floated the joke. “I’ve had worse games than this,” Rose said. “It’s been a minute, just being in the game, period. It’s going to take a little time. … If I’d have saw this [coming], I wouldn’t have played. Nah, I thought I was going to come out and do all right.”

Rose had been sidelined from March 12 to April 8 with a severe groin strain. He played at New York Sunday but turned his right ankle, missing the rematch with the Knicks Tuesday.

His return to action, as with his turf toe and back-spasms absences previously this season, was monitored as if the Bulls were facing a Game 7. He got the green light about an hour before tipoff Thursday, then had one of his sorriest performances ever. “[The ankle] felt good,” Rose said. “My mind was thinking of something that my body can’t do. But I’ve never had a problem getting my rhythm back for a long time. I should get it back pretty quick.”

Rose, who became the NBA’s youngest MVP ever in 2010-11, has carved out some more history this season. Only five reigning MVPs missed 20 or more games the following year. Two of them, Bill Walton (injuries) in 1978-79 and Michael Jordan (retirement) in 1999, missed an entire whole season. When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was out for 20 games in 1977-78, the Lakers went 8-12. In 2001-02, in 22 games without Allen Iverson, Philadelphia went 7-15.

So Rose is the only MVP whose team actually has stayed afloat — nicely afloat — despite his absence. The Bulls are 16-7 without him so far this season.

There are NBA players whose pride might be tweaked by that, whose egos might sag a little to see their value shrugged off that well. But Rose shrugged.

“No. No,” he said. “If anything, it’s given everybody confidence and let everybody know we have a deep team.”

Didn’t bother him a lick that Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau turned back to reserve C.J. Watson to force the OT — it was Watson’s clutch 25-footer from the right wing that earned it — and orchestrate the Bulls’ 12-2 finish in the extra five. Hasn’t troubled him, either, that based on the Bulls’ spot atop the Eastern Conference standings, Rose seems more easily replaceable than he probably is.

“Could I make up excuses? Yeah, but you know me, I’m not going to use no excuse,” he said. “Shots I normally hit I wasn’t hitting. My teammates had my back and I’m happy I have them on my team.”

Veteran guard Kyle Korver heard some of that stuff from his nearby dressing stall and just added it to the locker room legend. “It’s been a hard year for him. Hard year,” Korver said. “You’re 23 years old, you were MVP last year, you come in and get four or five different injuries in a crazy season with all these games. It says a lot about him and his character.

“There’s not a lot of superstars who can take the criticism that he gets and play the minutes that he does and still keep [his] head. He’s a really humble guy, he’s all about winning and he doesn’t care — obviously, he has the ball most the time, he’s the MVP, a great player — but if someone else is open, he’s going to pass the ball.”

Or pass the baton, as he did (and Thibodeau ensured) against Miami.


  1. Bulls 2012 World Champions says:

    Yes, I agree with it. They are a team. Once D’ Rose finds his rhythm back, it would give Bulls even greater edge.

  2. Saeed says:

    hEAT is not as good as they think, bench players are very important as the 106-102 game in United Center showed us. Miami should sell Bosh and instead buy two good cheap players. I think if they sell Bosh and buy for example Ricky Rubio plus D andrey Jordan or Serg Ibaka, it will make them a very tough team nobody has ever seen.

  3. jan279 says:

    I really admire D-Rose for admitting his shortcomings. Dude’s a really well-mannered and humble guy unlike you guys who continually bash on him with your stupendous comments. At the end of the day, Rose is still the NBA superstar and you’re still the ones sitting in front of the computer doing nothing other than criticizing basketball players for being human, which is downright idiotic if you think about it. Have fun, people! =)

  4. Bulls Fan says:

    I feel that the Bulls will beat the Heat in a seven game series. Because they are now playing as a team instead of the Heat. The Heat depends to much on Wade & James. & in the long run that is going to hurt them. They have a very bad bench & that will hurt you playing a team like Chicago. If they play like they did last night, the Bulls will keep beating them.

  5. susie says:

    Derrick Rose is OVERRATED, period.

  6. stuffbyrob says:

    Give him a break, Rose has been out for some time and will take a while to get back into playing shape. The team has learned to play without him and now everyone has to make the adjustment of having him back on the court.

    This win shows that the Bulls now can beat the top teams without Rose being the top scorer. Being on the playoffs to see really just how good the Bulls are.

  7. The bulls keep on winning lucas and watson for mvp, so is lebron still the favorite for mvp i mean u can put up numbers but you can’t get your team wins that not mvp material not this year. rose will be fine just needs some more playing time.

  8. Bullsfanforlife says:

    D-Rose is the best player in the NBA. The Bulls are the best TEAM in the NBA. Look out east the Bulls are going to the finals. Then the Bulls will win the 2012 NBA Championship. The next Bulls Dynasty starts now. The Chicago Bulls will be the 2012 NBA Champions. Go Bulls!

  9. Candy Cane says:

    Rose continues to show how he is overrated. Everyone was saying how Rose carried the team last year. It’s becoming evident that the team and Tom Thibodeau actually did. His shot is comparable to Rondo’s when it’s 16-23 feet (check the stats) yet he continues to chuck them away. A player like Rondo though knows his shot isn’t great and actaully gets his team involved.

    If Chicago wants to ever win a championship they should look to trade Rose. CJ Watson has shown he is a better value than Rose (I said better value not better skill. Think contract + skill combined). And it looks like Rose’s health is getting worse. We could be looking at Brandon Roy 2.0.

    Let’s face the music Bulls fans. This Bulls team won’t win a championship with Rose running the offense. He is SG more than he is PG (think Russell Westbrook without the defense). It’s tough to hear for you, but it’s true.

    • Colin says:


    • dwade3 says:

      @Candy Cane I totaly agree with you.

    • mj says:

      Rose isn’t going anywhere!

    • the MVP...right says:

      …Are you a heat fan or something?

      • Candy Cane says:

        It’s looking more like Rose has Thibodeau to thank for the MVP and not neccesarily his play. Still, I like Rose even if I’m a Celtics fan but I don’t think the Bulls can win with him as point guard. Maybe saying the Heat should trade him was going too far, but I definitely think they need to at least move him to the 2 position and get a better offensive big man (think Heat with Wade + Shaq). Perhaps going after Gasol would do the trick? Maybe KG in the offseason? Who knows, but you’re kidding yourself if you think the Bulls will win the Finals with this roster. A LOT of teams in the West match up well with them.

  10. uih7866 says:

    Heat trolls lost their cudgels, apparently. 😀 never once seen a successful troll attempt here by a heat fan. Prolly has to do with the fact that they’re bandwagon and bandwagon doesn’t attract any great minds. Oh well… 😀

  11. Demaris says:

    He got to much on his mine…
    He got a 7 month pregnant girlfriend meaning he probably be gone during playoffs & all the much

  12. jorge says:

    bulls will be the ones who will be worrying and crying when it is all over they will be swept by heat they r scrubs and r very overrated go heat

    • jorge says:

      when the heat play the bulls in ecf it will be a diffrent story dwade lebron and company will destroy the bulls not even good coaching or lucky shot will save them rose 10th best point guard in nba.

      • kobe says:

        and lebron cant close…hahaha..never seen an MVP player who chokes more then he does in clutch..last night has a chance to win game on the free throw line and makes 1 out of 2 and bulls hit 3 to send game into overtime..then doesnt even attempt shot in overtime…hahahaha

      • Chicago says:

        Start talking when not 7 not 6 not 5 not 4 not 3 but a second championship in your franchise history. Where do you people get off? Talk is cheap.


    • Bulls 2012 says:

      an overrated team just beat miami!!!!!! with their bench…Miami is not as good as people think thay are sooo sorry bud.

  13. Belizeboy says:

    I hate to see Rose struggle, I’m not a Bulls fan but I can see the heart Rose has for the game and that he wants to compete at his best. One problem I see is that if he doesn’t get into full swing soon, the Bulls could suffer and upset in the playoffs, but if he does I think they are a lock in for winning the east. On that same note, Miami fans really, really, really need to be worried at this point.

    • jorge says:

      we will see how worried bulls will be when real season starts go heeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaattttttttttttt

  14. Gman says:

    its a season that mashed up… everyone will be fine next year.

  15. kobe says:

    was very suprised that rose played so bad and the heat still lost…i know its tough espically in the NBA to come back from an injury and miss as many games as he did and expect an allstar performance..lebron choked again..his missed free throw in the 4th would have gave heat 4 point lead..cant expalin why he chokes so bad in clutch moments

  16. Turk says:

    People, you all need to stop criticizing Rose and saying that he didn’t deserve the MVP last year because of how good the Bulls are doing this year. If that’s the thesis of your argument…well then frankly, you’re stupid. Something that everybody sort of forgets is that this season and last season are two completely DIFFERENT seasons. The Bulls have been able to hang on this year without Rose because the group that is surrounding him is more familiar with one another, Boozer has come to life again, and their bench is capable of beating any other teams starters on any given night. The difference between last year you ask? Well, long story short – Boozer was playing like he was in fact ‘boozed’ up most games, and you heard a lot of his last name just without the ‘zer’ part. Complimenting this, Joakim missed a lot of time last season, and when he returned he never really was the same; and also, their bench wasn’t quite as lethal as it is now, and they lacked the familiarity they have with each other now. That being said, If you take Rose away for 23 games last season – The Bulls maybe win 5. Maybe less if it happens at the time Boozer and Joakim were both missing games together. Hence what i’m saying THESE ARE TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SEASONS. So, if you wanna argue that Rose doesn’t deserve his reigning MVP trophy, that’s fine, it’s all opinion in the end, BUT just don’t try to use the argument that the Bulls are doing good without him in a DIFFERENT season in which he won the trophy. Please? It really doesn’t make sense.

    • King James says:

      Well, the Bulls and D. Rose had an outstanding season last year. That is why many people felt Rose and Thibs were deserving of their MVP and COTY awards and voted for them. This year is only different for Rose, he is not performing as well as last season for various reasons. None the less the Bulls are basically the same team and had to deal with more injury issues in a more demanding season. The Bulls lost fewer games without Rose than with him, which does not make him a MVP candidate this season and naturally makes people second guess Rose.

      But I agree with you, last year Rose was the most performing player on the best team and received MVP Honors rightfully so. You might argue whether Howard or James were more deserving because they are more both way players meaning offense and defense compared to Rose but discussing these things now is a moot point.

      The more pressing question would be if Thibs will be the first Coach in league history to receive back-to-back COTY awards for maybe earning the best league record again for the second straight year despite all the hindrances of injuries and compressed schedule.

      • beenaround says:

        This year they have CJ playing better,Richard Hampston to help wear the defence down and Lucus is for real come off the bench. THE MAN HAVE HEART.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I really like Rose’s humility. This guy is just amazing. A superstar with no ego is hard to come by these days. Hope that he could stay healthy and play like he used to. Coming off injuries is never easy, especially after you’r the superstar of the team. And with all the negative media attention that’s been portrayed by Rose’s absence and Chicago’s dominance in the standings, its hard to keep a straight head.

    I wish him all the luck in his future and hope that he could perform at his best that he is. Chicago is truly a great team and they have a true Superstar with them as well.

    • Nobody says:

      Rose is a true leader. He was rusty but he was happy to sit and let other people have a chance to win. Unlike him, Westbrook is alway out of control ..hitting brick wall one after another

  18. Reshad says:

    No matter how good the Bulls are, I strongly believe that the Heat will beat them again in the Playoffs. Last season, Bulls owned the Heat in the regular season. Playoffs was another story! After Game 1 win over the Heat, Bulls couldn’t bounce back. A real Bulls/Heat fan that the efforts in the regular season is not all from both teams. Bulls can do MUCH better than what they are doing right now, although they’re good as it is. Heat are MUCH better than this. Every team has their time. They struggle sometimes. They get on a roll sometimes. Bulls are just one of those teams that are very consistent, team wise and player wise. Heat depend on the big 3 too much but they still manage to pull through in games. Come Playoff time, we will definitely see a different Bulls and Heat team, whether it is good or bad, or even same. Heat proved it last year. They struggled in the regular season and they kicked it in the Playoffs while Bulls did the opposite. Come on Bulls! Come on Heat! Put up a GOOD, and I mean GOOD Playoffs and best of luck Heat! =D

    • GameOver says:

      With that logic, the Mavericks are going to win it all again. Why? Because they did it last year beating the Lakers, Thunder, and Heat.

    • Bulls 2012 says:

      The bulls are the best team in the EAST…I strongly beleive that Miami wont get to the ECF (BOSTON VS CHICAGO)… HERES MY REASONS

      1. No bench players..
      2. No true Center
      3. No true point gurad
      4. No size
      5. no roll players
      6. Overrated powerfoward
      7. let bron, dwade get their points and stop the rest
      8. last nite Miami’s three had 70 of of 90 points.. thats horrible!!!!
      10. STUPID COACH. (playin lebron for about 50 minutes last nite) and he barley sat in second half no wonder he cant close out games hes too tired.
      11. they wont make it through a playoff team just playing three players..

      • ShaMirpuri says:

        Actually, the Bulls and Boston have to play to get to the ECF. so It’ll be Miami and Chicago

    • Robo says:

      I am looking forward to the playoffs. The Bulls aren’t the team from las season, they are a lot better. They have the same players, so now they have experience. They won’t be bullied this time by the Heat. In fact, I wish they face each other in the final game, so the bulls can show everybody what they are capable of, Yes, the Heat have 3 of the best players in the NBA but te bulls have the best TEAM in the NBA. Remember, TEAMS win championships. I don’t think the Heat is gonna play the finals, this year, because the Bulls and the Celtics just won’t allow it.

  19. Jimmy P. says:

    I think Rose will be fine. This condensed NBA schedule is not giving players proper time to rest and nurse their injuries (or in Rose’s case reinjuring themselves).

    • Alison says:

      Thats true. With the schedule they have… due to the lockout, its like they are playing every night, flying from state to state and not geting the proper rest needed. Derrick Rose is one of the best all around. Get better soon.

  20. lakermig says:

    This season and even the end of last really makes you think about rose and his future, no doubt if he had to get healthy and remain healthy he is an awesome player with great all round skills but could he actually ever remain healthy or is he destined to end up being one of those ‘if only’ cases like penny hardaway come to mind ??

  21. lakermig says:

    so he has basically missed a third of the season and his team still has the best record in the NBA, that either means that he wasnt as important as we thought or the bulls have a ridiculous team. I guess only the playoffs will tell.

    • beenaround says:

      must be out of your mind the

      you must be out of your mind, the Bulls need Mr. Rose to be come NBA champs. did you see that OKC game.