One Year Later, Bulls’ Woes Still Same

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NEW YORK
– The Chicago Bulls’ “practice court” Sunday was a conference room in a midtown Manhattan luxury hotel. The dimensions and lines of one end of a basketball floor were accurately laid out in advance by some experienced Bulls staffers – it’s not an uncommon option for NBA road teams, particularly when more mental than physical preparation is needed. Still, this was tape on carpeting, so by the time a dozen pairs of sneakers got done shuffling across it for an hour, it looked pretty raggedy.

So, for that matter, do the Bulls.

An anniversary of sorts came and went for the Bulls Saturday: From the day after their disastrous Game 1 in the 2012 playoffs to the day after their dismal Game 1 in the 2013 postseason.

Back then, Chicago and its fans were crestfallen because they knew they’d be without the services of MVP point guard Derrick Rose for the foreseeable future.

Now, exactly 51 weeks later, they still are. Crestfallen and without Rose.

No one expected that.

Oh, sure, they might have roughed out that lousiest-case scenario in their heads and covered their butts in official prognoses. Team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf made it clear that he’d rather have Rose sit out till October than risk re-injury via a hasty comeback around or after the All-Star break.

But the “eight to 12 months” recovery period put out to the public by Dr. Brian Cole, the Bulls physician who performed Rose’s knee surgery last May 12, always sounded like a safe bracket of time, one that would get media folks and fans to back away from Rose for a spell while allowing wiggle room for maybe an unforeseen physical setback of some kind.

One never came. Yet there the Bulls were Saturday night in Brooklyn, getting smacked in their series opener against the Nets 106-89. With Rose on the bench in street clothes, looking chipper and reportedly sound of game and sound of body, if not sound of mind about those two things as they relate to his delayed return.

“You hope for the best, you plan for the worst,” coach Tom Thibodeau said Sunday afternoon. “The thing is, we don’t want him out there until he’s completely comfortable. And he’s not comfortable. That’s part of what we expected. As long as he continues to work the way he has, I’m good with it.”

Thibodeau didn’t blink, either, when asked about the hit to Rose’s reputation by those who frame his reluctance to play as a lack of courage or commitment to his team .

“It’s not bothersome because I know all that he’s putting into it and I know who he is,” Thibodeau said. “I know his character. And he’s done amazing things for our organization. He’s doing all he can. That’s all you could ever ask a guy to do. So there’s always gonna be some negativity, but I think the vast majority of it is very positive.”

Teammates say the same things — what else do you expect to say, at least publicly, especially since none is named Stephen Jackson or Metta World Peace? They sound satisfied with Rose’s work ethic in rehab, sincere in their trust of his judgment and freed up by the ol’ “you can’t know until you walk in his shoes” qualifier.

So they all talked Sunday about better readiness against Brooklyn in Game 2, about dialing up their defensive intensity and about the crisper execution it will take to cope with the Nets’ multiple weapons (Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Deron Williams), while generating enough punch-back of their own.

Carlos Boozer continues to run roughshod over the Nets (22.3 ppg on 55.5 percent shooting). Guard Kirk Hinrich (bruised thigh) is expected to start and so is center Joakim Noah, who right foot wasn’t bothering him as much Sunday as the Bulls might have feared. Noah, who started in spite of plantar fasciitis pain, only logged 13:27 with limited effectiveness (four points, five rebounds, one block) but at least his condition didn’t worsen.

Thibodeau said that, even hobbled, Noah can help. “He’s a plus,” the Bulls coach said. “We feed off what he can do defensively, and offensively he has a very unique skill set because of the way he can pass the ball.”

Then there’s Luol Deng, the Bulls’ two-time All Star forward who is no more banged up than he usually is at this time of year but who struggled through a 3-for-11, six-point performance. Deng took responsibility for a “bad game” and wasn’t grabbing the too-many-injuries and no-Rose lifelines tossed to him and his team by media questioners Sunday.

“The way you’re saying it, we may as well pack our bags,” Deng said at one point. “This has been our team all year. We’ve done well with guys out, guys in, and we’ve been able to deal with that. It’s not time to really bring all that up. It’s us against them. Whatever they’re going through, whatever we’re going through really don’t matter.”

Still, for the second time in a year, the Bulls’ postseason is being defined by who they don’t have. The elephant in their room is the 190-pound point guard sitting on their bench.

27 Comments

  1. Vatch says:

    Im sick of hearing all you people bag out rose. Yes Kobe wants to come back quickly from his injury and wants to play injured, BUT THATS BECAUSE HE IS OLD AND TIMES RUNNING OUT FOR HIM. Rose is still young and has the weight of the whole of Chicago on his back. Yes shumpert did come back before him, but no one cares if shumpert plays well or not. If rose came back and didnt get back to his full potential what will you guys do ? You will bag him out. Think about what a years worth of practice and conditioning will do to a guy thats hungry for a championship. We all know he wants to bring a championship to chicago. Give him time, He will come back better, faster and stronger, we just need to give him time #THE RETURN.

  2. JDog says:

    I’m sorry…but having Rose back won’t change the playoffs this year. He might as well stay out. He hasn’t played a true game for a year. Look at it this way….when Jordan returned from retirement…the Bulls still didn’t have enough time to mesh to win a championship. Rose isn’t Jordan…so even if he returned late in the season…it wouldn’t have mattered.

  3. Michael says:

    yeah but kobe has a torn achilles and is out 6-9 months

  4. Scisca says:

    Would MJ sit the playoffs out? Would Kobe just sit and look at his teammates getting crushed? That’s the difference between a winner and a loser.

  5. Nathan says:

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but if I was Rose, I clearly learned my lesson from the last time I tried to come off an injury in the playoffs/after All-Star Break only to get hurt again, but worse. If I was Rose I would remember most that entire season coming back from injuries early only to get injured again because of the reckless high-contact style of basketball I played.

    People forget that quick? Rose needs to take his time before he ends up like Grant Hill, Tracy Mcgrady, Shaun Livingston, Bynum, Bogut, or Oden, and many other NBA players that come back as early as possible only to be plagued by another injury soon after.

  6. sanjay says:

    HE has to play basketball and not turn out for a dunk contest! Speculating about future injury is useless. If you do not play you do not strengthen it. No body is asking him to play 48 minutes. He should have started with being on court for 20 minutes and play without really going for a dunk and then build it up! He should have done this 20 games ago and now it is too late!

  7. sanjay says:

    one year should be enough to come back from any leg injury for a young man like Rose! There is no need to jump over the hoop to get a basket. He can lay it inn and be a facilitator to this banged up team! The way they play itself is a flaw!
    They have no smoothness, they want to faul physically, deliberately all the time and that has taken toll on all of their own players! their scoring options are limited. It looks like a 4-1 wash out to me!
    And they are gonna go fishing!

  8. Master says:

    Rose is ruining the chances this team has. The NBA’s new breed of star players are mainly sissys. They don’t want to play.
    D Rose, given clearance by doctors since January has refused to join his team mates and play basketball but he is not shy to cash in his pay checks. I bet his ACL doesn’t bother him one bit when he strolls into the bank to cash his paycheck.
    Iman Shumpert got injured the same week as Rose but Shumpert has been back since January toughing it out on the court, working his way back in. I’m sick and tired of Rose, I thought he was different but he is just the same as the rest of those paycheck players who only want the money and no stress. Rose is becoming as brittle as McGrady, he is already as hyped up as TMac, but his refusal to join his team mates to work for team success will not be forgotten

  9. antwan100 says:

    “I need more time” – Rose after doing a 720 dunk -___-

  10. aron says:

    Steve nailed it right in the head. Deng and Noah continue to play gritting out the pain and numerous injuries while their franchise player who is completely healthy, continues to sit down and sulk about his “mediocre” teammates. His teammates earn hard for their money compared to Rose who gets paid multimillion dollars a season sitting pretty.

    Get off the couch, man. Such a shame. Kobe would never let this happen if he was Chicago’s man.

  11. harry says:

    Big disapointment in Derrick. I’ve been a die hard fan since the 80’s. In CHICAGO we play ball!!! Where’s the balls MVP ?? Why r u listening to ur dumb brother? give that boy a raise and tell him the show must begin. We outa time.

  12. theholyspectator says:

    to think he was once an mvp? sad thing is even when hes back, bulls aint winning no rings until the big 3 in miami break up..and even then thats a long shot…RIP bulls…time to go out and get more solid pieces cuz the bulls right now aint there yet even when rose is back

  13. sportsfan says:

    Rose should not be blamed for not coming back. Every professional athlete & anyone who has torn an ACL knows that the mental aspect is the bigger hurdle than the physical injury. Anyone who makes stupid comments about Rose being a coward & being scared have absolutely no idea what it’s like to through that type of an injury. Rose is definitely not scared because he’s a competitor. Stop armchair quarterbacking.

    • i love basketball says:

      Derrick might be scared of getting injured again and not being able to ball could you live with that not ever getting to step on an nba court again give him his time the time with pay isnt bad because hes still showing up for practice right and by the way if i remember correctly the bulls swept the heat for a season serie of 4-0

      • i love basketball says:

        The heat were reported crying after their third loss to the bulls in their last season series, last season -__-

  14. jfack says:

    i sure hope rose doesnt stay out. if he stays out and comes back next year, then gets some bad injury then he will recieve double the criticism for staying out of the playoffs for nothing. i dont know what to call this guy. should i say he has no heart for not coming back already? or should i say he has heart for not giving in to all the pressure of coming back too soon? idk. but i sure dont want to see brooklyn beat the bulls when i know the bulls can win if drose just comes bac k like right now!!!

  15. Shan says:

    One should always live the moment. Rose and bulls should worry about the season in hand. You never know what’s going to happen between now and next playoffs. Rose might get re-injured again during october/november, once the season starts. I think the doctors have made it clear that he doesn’t have any more chances of re-injuring his ankle than any other play in the league right now.

    Joakim though should take a step. He probably should not have played game 1. We could have had more of his time for Game 2. Also, there is a good 3 days gap b/w game 2 and game 3.

    My hunch – Rose back on the floor for Game 3. Insider news!

    • Be Realistic says:

      Dream on! I respect Rose but he’s scared. He wants a year off with pay…. The US doesnt have Maternity leave like Canada and Europe with a year off. So Rose wants that time…. Lets stop talking about him and give his team credit for fighting without him. If and only If he comes back the Derrick Rose that he was then he was right to take the time off….. If not then he should of played limited minutes like the doctors said and work his way back like a true MVP.

  16. nickg says:

    bulls,will fight hard..and next season with rose and a new guy here an there they will.be in east finals very hungry they will.remember this

  17. Terrance says:

    He deserves to have his face on a milk carton…..”Have you seem this man? He’s been missing since April 28th 2012″

  18. Terrance says:

    He deserves to have his face on a milk carton…..”Have you seen this man? He’s been missing since April 28th 2012″

  19. Terrance says:

    Derrick Rose is not mentally strong going back to critical missed free throws in college as well as the NBA. He owes it to his teammates to back out there on the court not necessarily the fans. Chicago as a whole has his back but we keep hearing he’s the best player in practice& he’s been cleared to play but what’s the problem? Ite either two things-what his brother said is true or he’s extremely soft mentally…….either way he’s losing a lot of respect from people.

  20. steppx says:

    this is a big hit to Rose’s rep. His team needs him. He is paid millions of dollars to play basketball, nothing else, just play basketball. SO PLAY

  21. W/E says:

    Its even worse this year cause Bulls fans found out what a coward their star player is, HOPELESS.