CHICAGO – Bo knows Rose. But Bo Jackson doesn’t necessarily know squat when it comes to the anterior cruciate ligament surgery from which Bulls star Derrick Rose is recovering, or the timetable for Rose’s specific rehab, or the relationship between the 2011 NBA Most Valuable Player and his team.
Jackson, the amazing two-sport athlete whose NFL and MLB careers were cut short by a debilitating hip injury, threw out the ceremonial first pitch Monday at the Chicago White Sox’s opening game at U.S. Cellular Field.
That team, like the Bulls, is owned by a group headed by chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. Jackson. who played two seasons with the White Sox, still lives in the Chicago suburbs. But the connections pretty much end there, as far as informing Jackson’s Rose opinions with any particular insight.
In a press box chat Monday, as reported by the Chicago Tribune’s David Haugh, Jackson defended what appears to be Rose’s cautious return to NBA action. The Bulls’ point guard is in his 11th month of rehab since surgery last May 12.
“I am quite sure that Derrick is going to come back when he needs to,” Jackson [said]. “I couldn’t say either way whether he should or not. Derrick will know when it’s time to come back. I think he has handled it very well. It seems like the people who are having fits about this are you guys.
“Derrick has handled it well. He is a new dad and seems happy. Why push it? Between the media and the public pushing him, ‘he should come back, he should come back’ … what if he did come back and reinjure himself? Then you’re going to point fingers at the staff of the Bulls saying he shouldn’t have come back. You guys can’t have it both ways. Let him heal, come back home and when he comes back home, welcome him.”
With all due respect to Jackson, this one might be above his pay grade and outside his wheelhouse. More than that, he sounds like the 50-year-old former athlete that he is. He admitted that he hadn’t talked to Rose about the injury “just like I wouldn’t want anybody to talk to me about my golf game.” Can anyone imagine Jackson at age 24 or 26, though, listening to some old guy’s advice to proceed with caution, to miss more games rather than fewer or to focus on daddyhood rather than rushing yards and home runs?
It was a nice gesture by a once-in-a-generation, maybe once-in-a-lifetime athlete who gave us this and this, and who proved his toughness when he came back to play 160 games in the major leagues after having a hip replaced.
But Rose’s decision to delay his return to actual NBA competition until he feels “110 percent” is solely on him and his advisors (formal and informal). The playing-as-a-part-of-rehab stage considered so necessary by so many medical experts won’t be satisified and the rust of his long layoff won’t be flaked off until he participates in some uncertain number of games for the Bulls, whether that happens this spring or in the relative shadows of October’s preseason.
It really is not, as Rose suggested in a recent interview aside, a “Nobody-knows-but-God” thing. Nor is it a nobody-knows-but-Bo thing.