Rose Might Benefit From D-League Rehab


D. Rose. In the D League. In Des Moines.

The marketing opportunities would be enormous. And it might just help Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls in their long, arduous process of getting the 2011 NBA MVP back onto the court for a real playoff push.

Rose has been painstakingly working his way back through the demanding stages of recovery and rehabilitation from ACL surgery on his left knee. Meanwhile the Bulls have been waiting patiently and playing without excuses – coach Tom Thibodeau would tolerate nothing less – for what most have pegged as a late February or early March return.

Rose finally returned to practice last week, the last stage before he’s on the floor in a Bulls uniform on game night. But it potentially is a lengthy stage for reasons beyond his control, as the team’s executive vice president John Paxson told listeners of a sports talk show on the Bulls’ flagship station.

“We don’t have the defined plan yet because Derrick is still progressing,” Paxson said Friday on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000. “The way he feels and what his body tells him is going to dictate how we do things. But I can tell you one thing – and this is for certain – he’s going to have to have a high volume of practices and contact, and where he’s comfortable on the floor doing things that he used to do naturally. And that takes some time and he’s just starting that process now.

“We can’t sit here today and say he’s going to be back in three weeks or after the All-Star break.

High volume of practices. Paxson knows as well as anyone that the notion is an oxymoron at this stage of an NBA season – particularly for his club in its current condition. Beginning Saturday at Atlanta, the tail end of a back-to-back, they have six games in 12 days before the All-Star break. Upon their return, they play six in the final 10 days of February.

And now the situation is complicated by injuries to others on the roster. Center Joakim Noah sat out Friday in Brooklyn and informed reporters afterward he is suffering from plantar fasciitis in his right foot; the same condition in his left foot cost Noah 18 games in 2009-10. The first-time All-Star might not play again until that showcase event in Houston.

Forward Carlos Boozer might miss his third straight game Saturday with a lingering hamstring strain. The manpower drain has shifted heavier workloads onto Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, Nate Robinson and Jimmy Butler, leaving the Bulls not only with a number problem but with tuckered-out players. That’s not conducive, either, to 5-on-5 scrimmaging in the practice gym.

So what’s a fella like Rose to do? How does he get the game conditions he needs? Where does he find teammates fresh enough for near-full-speed practices, the elixir most necessary to his ultimate comeback step?

Go west, young man. Only not too far west, just as far as Des Moines, where the Iowa Energy has a full schedule and players with a different sort of NBA ambition.

Injury rehab assignments are common in baseball, most often used for pitchers trying to work their way back in game conditions. But there’s no reason that NBA players – if their teams are fighting fatigue or ailments – couldn’t do the same thing.

The Bulls could send whatever medical personnel they chose (short of head trainer Fred Tedeschi) to supervise, and a strict minutes limit could be imposed against the Austin Toros or the Sioux Falls Skyforce the same as if it were Philadelphia or Indiana.  Easier, in fact, since Energy fans probably would be thrilled just to have Rose in the building. Folks at United Center will almost instantly begin to weave postseason dreams and bracket possibilities as soon as Rose takes the court, and pulling him out after a prescribed 16 or 22 minutes could mess with those. In Des Moines, every minute would be a hoot.

There’s nothing inherently more risky about playing in the D League – chances are, those opponents might yield a little bubble of safety and respect to Rose that he won’t get against NBA defenders. The idea been brought up on occasion in the past – Elton Brand offered to play for Anaheim in March 2008 while rehabbing from a torn Achilles.

Now the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the players allows for such stints for veterans, with their consent. It was suggested in December, for example, that Washington’s John Wall might benefit from testing his knee injury in the D-League.

Look, if the D-League is all about prepping players for the NBA and strengthening rosters, that’s precisely what some brief rehab visits might produce.


  1. give me that kind of money and ill have all kind of confidence

  2. give me that kind of money and ill have all the so called confidence

  3. Reggie Evans is an Alien! says:

    What the hell is with all this hate for the D-league?!? Its no disrespect to Rose to have a couple of games there to regain game fitness – It would just be the equivalent to some pick-up games for him. Most other sports have a reserve team of some sort, and you’re damn expected to prove yourself there (I know its D-Rose, he doesn’t need to prove anything, etc etc – I’m on about his fitness) first.

  4. Matt says:

    I don’t see why there is such a big arguement over this. The theory here is that Rose can get match minutes earlier, which is exactly what he needs. Everyone who is saying it is a bad idea are crazy. Rose did his ACL driving and dishing it out, something he will do countless times for the rest of the season. In the D-League the defense will be slacker so he doesn’t have to pivot on the knee as much which gives us… MATCH PRACTICE!!!! As it is clearly stated this happens in baseball, it happens in the NFL, even over here in Australia in the Australian Football League and the National Rugby League injured players are eased back into the team through the lower leagues. If you think it is that easy to come back from a 30 week ACL rehab program why don’t you go play for the Bulls then. Rant over.

  5. T-Riz says:

    Why would someone with the caliber of D-Rose be leveled down to the D league? Elton Brand is a different story. It would almost be an insult for him to play there and might mess up his confidence. Why risk it. Just wait until he is close to 100% and keep him in full contact practices. This player was MVP only 2 years ago. Take that into consideration and dont insult him. Also him playing games in the D League is unnecessary media attention on him. They should build up the return of him playing his first game back in a Bulls uniform at home, the city of Chicago deserves nothing less.

  6. BullySixChicago says:

    This is a wasted article their is no way Rosé or Bulls management would expose him to the D league for any purpose.

  7. Melomvp says:

    Knicks did not sent stat to play in d-league what they did is ask the team to have practice or they let stat to join in practice and never sent him to play there

  8. SmoothMM says:

    Off topic: Does anyone else think the name “Jimmy Butler” is an awesome sounding full name? Very simple to spell and easy to pronounce.

  9. QP says:

    MLB does this all of the time with pitchers coming back from injuries. I think that it would be good to see where he is as far as conditioning. Would just be a shame if he got hurt again while playing in D-League.

  10. Joseph Valencia says:

    i hope D-Rose takes after Adrian Peterson this season!!

  11. #BULLS says:

    D-league teams play harder than nba teams! Because they are trying to make a name for themselves. Maybe in a few weeks he can go a few mins a half. But you never know what can happen. Amare went….

  12. Dieter says:

    Wow, not alot of fans of the D-League. I guess Nate is a better player at 100% than a returning Rose, so it doesn’t seem a bad idea to give Rose starter minutes in the D-league instead of losing some Bulls games or playing just 10 minutes. I don’t get players like Iverson, who is he to reject an invite from a D-League team? He didn’t prove anything the last years, so why would he get a contract from an NBA team?

  13. D3 says:

    It’d be more of a risk to send him to the D-League.
    If the D-League is for youngsters trying to prove themselves, Rose would have more of a target on his back, with players trying to “test” themselves against a NBA superstar.

  14. Derrick Rose says:

    People make fun of Derrick Rose’s injury, Derrick Rose makes fun of their bank accounts! xD

  15. Nash fan says:

    Okay… rehab to D-League for D-Rose? Just get him on the floor with the BULLS on return! Stars like D-Rose do not need D-League prep…. The fans would like a return in a BULLS uniform!

  16. adelinho says:

    Please don’t bring back d rose until he’s fully healthy! i think the d-league is a good idea but even then the bulls shouldn’t rush it

  17. Bulls2012 says:

    Look at what Rubio and Shumpert are doing after their acl injuries. They strainin muscles and not at 100 percent. Even though Drose is a whole different story bz hes the FRANCHISE player for the Bulls for the next 5-10 years they should reallly look at their options. Some players on certain NBA teams gives cheap shots and i wouldnt wanna see drose irritate that knee after someone trys to make a statement of how healthy he is.. D-League is a good idea, but maybe play him 5 minutes in two quaters for about 3-5 games. have him come back to the Bulls limit his minutes to about 20 a game. and see how he is going to the playoffs. If hes not 100 percent or showing improvement just keep his minutes to about 20 minutes a game EVEN IN THE PLAYOFFS TOO.and wait till next year.

    • ballinallday says:

      like Stacey King always says when he’s announcing Bulls games….IF YOU SCARED GET A DOG!!!! all this pampering nonsense is just that….NONSENSE!!!!…..i can name NBA players that got injured off court away from the bright lights and gymnasiums. was it from being clumsy or just bad luck?…who knows but stuff happens so you can’t go thru life being scared. Derrick Rose could get injured while just cooking dinner or shopping at the mall. Plaxico Burress was not playing football when he got injured nor was Carlos Boozer when he got injured before he could even play his first game as a Bull. and who can forget how Sammy Sosa got injured just by sneezing. that’s right he sneezed so hard it caused him to have back spasms and he was placed on the disabled list for 15 days. here’s a little quote that might help you get over your fears….Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday. ~Author Unknown

      • Bulls2012 says:

        And what happend to all those players?

      • Isaaac says:

        and that other guy is a know-it-all?

      • JAmes87 says:

        ballinallday: you know Kenyon Martin? Dudes tough as hell, was a 1st overall pick, won defensive player of the year, went to 2 finals with the nets. He was Blake Griffin with 10x better defense and a jump shot, was in the top 3 PFs in the league (other 2 were Tim Duncan and KG). Now he is out of the league because he wasnt afraid and played too many minutes too soon after knee injuries and it turned into about 4 micro fracture surgeries, cost himself atleast $30mil and Denver any shot at a title or keeping melo.

        Greg Oden, Andrew Bynum, Brandon Roy these are guys who should be top 10 players in the league right now but none of them are playing, why? Because of knee issues.

        The bulls should let rose practice with the d-league guys (because no bull besides maybe teague, cook, vlad rad, or nazi is fresh enough to practice). Rose decides the next 10-15 years of the franchise, if he isn’t the old rose anymore they won’t contend for at least that long. They need to take their time with him, 25 games before the playoffs should be enough to get a comfort level

  18. Noit says:

    I think it’s a good idea. I like giving DLeague more visibility that’s nice.

    • ballinallday says:

      if you want to give them more visibility just buy a ticket to a game and streak……….duhhhhhhhhhhh.

  19. afermt says:

    Both the Bulls and Derrick Rose said he would only play when he’s fully recovered. If Derrick Rose is cleared to play there’s no point of playing games in the D-League. Injuries can happen in any game (NBA or D-League) So if he’s going to play it better be for the Bulls (when he’s at 100%). Try to tell someone he reinjured himself while playing in the D-League. No body would believe that as it makes no sense.

  20. waltwilliams55 says:

    How does playing contact sport in D league, usher him healthily back into the NBA? They can get some production from him rather than wasting it in a league that doesnt matter. A bubble of respect is a joke of a reason to validate the idea. By the way, not a D Rose fan ranting for the sake of an MVP.

  21. C'mon, Man... says:

    It’s kind of sad how bad of a rep the D-League gets. Yes, they’re the minor league of professional basketball. That doesn’t make them genetically inferior or some kind of “sick joke,” as some clearly believe.
    Just like how people bash Women’s basketball, people like to harp on about how terrible these athletes supposedly are. For the record, having a condescending attitude towards anything that isn’t “the best” is unhealthy.
    Grow up, already. Rose WOULD benefit from D-League rehab. No further support is really needed that hasn’t already been stated in the article.

  22. Jon says:

    Is this some kind of sick joke

    • uoykcuf says:

      why is it a sick joke? Would you rather see him play in the league for 5 mins and tore his ACL again? That’s a sick joke.

      • ballinallday says:

        oh so the d-league is safer?……… that’s really a sick joke. d-league = i want what you have = jealousy = a dangerous enviorment. all NBA players are rich,d-league players……not so much.

  23. CHUCK NORRIS says:

    GO ENERGY!!!!!!

  24. Real says:

    for the bulls to be 3rd in the east without their mvp and their well known bench mob from last year, theyre in a great position

    • Bulls2012 says:

      I agree. Miami has big rebounding problems…NY relies wayyy to much on threes and have the senior citizens coming off bench..Bulls spotty offense at best…Nets good talent but all role players (Denver of th east)..Pacers prolly the most dangerous team in the east if they go in playoffs HOTT, but haves troubles with Offense and not sold on Vogal…. Bucks good combo of Ellis, Jennings, IIyasova but pretty bad after them…Boston No Rondo means no chance..ATL scored 5 points in a quater and 58 points in a game which is pretty pathetic and Korver starting means not a deep team.

      Miami vs Pacers
      Pacers vs Bulls in ECF

  25. billy says:

    As a bulls fan I would hate this I want him back ASAP or when he is healthy

  26. Marcin says:

    What is this with D-League and good players going there?!? Please stop posting this, first A.I, then Dolonte and now D-Rose, so I guess if you got an MVP award atleast once you go play in the D-Legaue.. this is pathetic.

    • TheStarMiddleschooler says:

      A.I is old, Rose is HURT T_T, Dolonte is washed up trouble maker, the D-League is a place for rookies to train and become developed. NBA players need to go to the D-League as REHAB. Rose is too good for D-league but he needs it for training to come back strong and fierce. Doesnt matter about MVP. If Lebron tore his ACL and was about to come back. I would put him into the D-league. Dont come back fast.Ease your way into your old Positon. Thats how you get hurt again *cough cough* (D Howard)

      • ballinallday says:

        you wouldn’t put him anywhere because you need his written permission first sir. most nba players would say no thank you. you don’t pay a guy 90 million dollars and put him in the d league. not gonna happen! Michael Jordan broke his foot while he was a Bull,do you think they sent him to the D-League. name one 5 star superstar that ever went to the d-league for rehab. it ain’t gonna happen bro cause it would be disrespectful. did you see how Allen Iverson responded to the offer to join Dallas’s d-league. the d-league was not meant as a place to send injured NBA players for rehab…..period!

      • Trade Deadline says:


        The New York Knicks sent Amare down to the D-League before returning to the NBA and he was on a $100 million dollar contact.

  27. Kings4 says:

    Maybe this is a good idea, but I don’t see Bull’s management even suggesting it. Even if Rose was fine with it, which thinly he probably would be, they probably still wont risk making him unhappy though.

  28. Joshua Thompson says:

    This is a great idea, its a shame that it will most likely never occur due to the huge egos of most nba players. But at the same time, the D-league players still treat their games as real and would play 100%, due to the fact its their job. The last thing coaches and owners would want is an injury to occur again, and playing in a tough competetion (most would say is better than any other league in the world) would only increase the likelyhood of an injury.

    • Fan says:

      They can call the D-League team up to their facilities for some contact practice like the Knicks did for STAT. He transitioned perfectly, averaging 16 points and shooting over 60% since he’s gotten his groove back.

    • rob says:

      if the bulls ask d rose to go down to the d league in order to work his way back then he would do it. he isnt egotistical.

  29. cuecardguy says:

    More movement between the D League and the League can help visibility and gives the player a way to ease into full-speed. Seems like a perfect situation. Nice story.