Ewing Set Precedent For Bulls’ Rose, If Mid-Playoffs Comeback Happens

BROOKLYN – It doesn’t necessarily boost the likelihood that Chicago’s Derrick Rose will make a Clark Kent-to-Superman emergence in the 2013 NBA postseason (good luck to him finding a phone booth, first of all). But at least folks got an inkling Monday of why the Bulls would even consider that possibility.

Normally, the prospect of disrupting a team’s concentration and preparation to work back into the lineup a rusty, injury-rehabbed player would hold little or no appeal. Regardless of the guy’s skill level, he would overlay an individual agenda (minutes restrictions, inconsistent play) onto the team’s, almost necessarily leading to distractions and cross purposes.

But Tom Thibodeau has seen it happen before. In extreme close-up, in fact. Remember, Thibodeau is wrapping up only his third season as Bulls coach but he has been on the NBA scene for most of the past quarter century, stretching back to his arrival in 1989 as an assistant with the expansion Minnesota Timberwolves. So when he was asked prior to Game 2 of the Brooklyn-Chicago first-round series about his experiences with star players being sidelined by injuries at this least opportune time on the calendar, naturally Thibodeau had been there, seen that.

“When I was in Houston we dealt with Yao [Ming] missing good chunks of the season,” said Thibodeau, an assistant to Jeff Van Gundy on playoff teams in New York and Houston and to Doc Rivers in Boston. “In Boston we had a situation one year with [Kevin] Garnett where he got hurt in the first game after the All-Star break and we were hopeful that he would be able to come back and try and he was never able to do it.

“When I was in New York, Patrick [Ewing] missed a majority of the season; I think he got hurt in the 16th game of the year, early December, and he was able to come back during the playoffs. That experience taught me that it’s the right thing to do. So if Derrick can come back, we want him back.”

There it was. The Ewing Precedent.

In 1997-98, the New York Knicks’ Hall of Fame center suffered a lunate dislocation and torn ligaments in his right wrist. He apparently tried to play through it or perhaps the severity wasn’t fully known, but regardless, he and the Knicks shut down his season on Dec. 20.

His 26 games were the fewest he ever played in his 17-year career. Surgery and rehab followed, as Ewing labored in a grim hardwood edition of “Beat The Clock” to return before New York ran out of season or, at least, postseason.

As teammate Larry Johnson said during Ewing’s layoff, “I thought I was a hard worker, or claimed to be a hard worker, but I’m in there before practice and he looks like he’s already been there an hour. So if anyone can come back, he will.”

Ewing did. New York finished 43-39, then beat Miami 3-2 in the best-of-five first round. It dropped the opening game of the East semifinals series against Indiana on May 5, then brought Ewing back for Game 2, two nights later.

It didn’t go great: The 7-footer shot 3-for-11, scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds in 27 minutes of an 85-77 loss. He averaged 35 minutes over the next three games, along with 15.3 points on 37.8 percent shooting, 8.7 rebounds and 2.7 turnovers, and New York dropped two of those three to get eliminated.

But for Thibodeau, late was better than never. Which explains why Rose, coming up on the one-year anniversary (April 28) of his torn ACL knee ligament, continues to be listed by the Bulls as “day-to-day.”

Series Hub: Nets vs. Bulls


  1. nba fanatic says:

    D-rise returning the 28th, the same day Galaxy S4 comes out for sprint.

  2. Shawn Shearer says:

    D Rose is part of a TEAM. this is a team sport, and he is healthy. It is not up to him, or his brother to talk about the other players. DRose needs to give it his all. If he comes back, he will regain all of his fans and the ENTIRE WORLD WILL BE ECSTATIC. I know i will! The Bulls are an awesome defensive team and they have gotten far without their leader. Also, DRose can only get stronger by playing in the playoffs. If not, please i hope he does not sit on the bench, or is shown warming up. that is too demoralizing and frankly it is very upsetting to the fans. i can understand the emotional and mental anguish, but when you get knocked down, you have to get back up. Or you won’t regain your confidence or respect. Its time to stop thinking about how you “feel” and stepping up to your professional responsibility. and if not, then okay. you will not be considered a leader, and that is okay… if that is not who you are… But, we still believe in you! i see no fair reason not to play. Once he gets back out there, he will feel great! Win or lose, you gave it your all. That is the message Noah demonstrates, and what makes Chicago so great.

  3. GMAN13 says:

    DRose is determined to come back stronger than ever, if he chooses to sit out for the playoffs it is his decision because when healthy not many point guards possess the type of explosiveness he brings to the table and he can finish with authority(watch his top 10 dunks). He already missed the entire year so the person trying to sue him is an idiot who got fat because he chose that route, no one shoved food down his throat (talking about pain and suffering). Anyways, it’s probably the best for him to call it a season and observe how his teammates perform during the playoffs because even when he was healhy they still could not take that next step. Beating the Heat will be a challenge regardless, but even a 100% rose the Bulls need another dominant small forward. Look, Rip is old, Hinrich is not a point and can’t score like before, Boozer got miles on him, Noah needs to be consistent, Nate is small but can score,Gibson needs to step up more, Belinelli shows up when he wants to, Butler can be good but got a ways to go.

  4. KnicksChyck says:

    All things being equal…Patrick Ewing had a great work ethic. While it’s great that Rose is there cheering on his team, I’m disappointed that he isn’t making a move toward playing.

    Kobe would.

    MJ would.

  5. Just be says:

    the rockets got lucky for two x champs

  6. Neville says:

    I think he is doing the right thing by waiting it out a bit more than it needs. There will be no glory gained in returning with how the Knicks & Heats are playing now. What he needs is an entire season before the playoffs to gain his confidence into the explosive player that he is. the Bulls are on the right path & should exercise more patience in order to gain greater goal which is an NBA championship & it seems in sight!

  7. LL Cummins says:

    Now Adidas is gonna come out with a new ad. “Im D Rose & this The Return.” 2013-2014.

  8. Filip says:

    Here is my bit – professional athletes go down with ACL injuries on a weekly basis it seems and then are out for a year like D Rose.
    I am now recovering from my second ACL surgery – after the 1st one i was back to hoopin in 3 months, now, on my other knee, I also had a repaired meniscus so my recovery will be about 5 months – thats because i got this done in Europe where you have an option of using the LARS method – they input an artificial ligament instead of a live organ, there is no need to rehab, you’re back to a 100% percent in 3 months and it is next to impossible to tear a second time.
    The reason why its not available in the US because its not FDA approved because the corporate interests and lobbyists wont allow it because there is less money made when the surgery is less expensive and no need for rehab. Had this not been the case, D Rose would have been back hoopin months ago

  9. Knicks fan 1st/ Lover of the game says:

    everyone likes to judge derrick for his decisions. many of the ppl never played ball and never been hurt. like melo said, stay out till ur ready rose. ppl say its cause melo dont want him to come back but again dats stupid talk from ppl who never been there. rose coming back does not make da bulls a champ. its da truth iman shumpert came back gave da team a lift in energy. and now is pretty much back to form but wasnt at first. dats iman energy and defense. were talkin bout rose. Chicago’s offense so your tellin him come back but wat ever the reason be t hes still hurt. or a mental block, w/e he knows or feels if he comes back he cant be derrick rose. many players come back too soon cause of pressure and regret it cause they shorten thier career in da long run. if ur a bulls fan. be proud dat u made the playoffs m god u have nate da great runnin ur team. u guys did a hell of a job. now enjoy it bring ur best for brooklyn and see wat happens, d-rose back right now aint savin u. and its too late to trade for melo lol so just play da hand u have. gritty defense, team play and good luck da rest of da playoffs let derrick rest. stop being part of the media hype and form yor own opinions.

  10. Axel says:

    I have watched game 2. Whoever did could see how the Bulls can make life tough for the Nets They play their heart out and even a decimated and laboring Bulls will be dangerous. The key – just like Steve Kerr said – is outside shooting. If the Nets get their 3pt shooting tuned up to at least 40% all of the best Bulls D in the world wont stop them because the Nets have the inside presence, a very powerful and skillful guard and then the outside shooting. But I doubt that the Nets shooters are good enough. Therefore I root for the Bulls in 6 to go through. And the Bulls shooter? Not good and in particular consistent enough. Nate can catch fire but if he doesn’ t, then it will be over very fast. And Nate is a horrible defender. He can only come in for the Bulls if they DONT need strong D, in other words if their backs are against the wall or they are leading by much. I still think this series is one for the Nets to lose rather than the Bulls to win.


    DRose should sit out he isnt healthy enough thats shown he doesnt want to push it, he will come back next year and i think he will be just as googd as last yr. But also if he did come back even though its 1-1 thats a dumb move they would be better off with out him he would just slow them down. Even though im a kincks fan i want brooklyn to win i lovbe DRose but there is no point in persuering him back into the game. Besides the heat are most likey going to win again even if rose never got hurt The bulls dont match up wade against rose? year thats a good match up but everyone else not even close.

  12. 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.

  13. Heat 2peat says:

    i’m not a bulls or rose fan and the longer he stay out, the better for the heat lol. but it also pisses me off how he was cleared to play but he still chooses to ride the bench and make millions doing just that. You’re the franchise player, your team needs you, you are cleared to play by doctors, Now the coach said he has knee probs?TF? GET UP AND HELP YOUR TEAM. I know for a fact that Rondo wish he could play at the moment, seeing that he went for a 2nd opinion days after getting hurt and he was so upset. rose obviously doesn’t have the heart or the spirit. he seems scared.

  14. Bulls Fan says:

    DRose , is not soft , he hasnt played because of his contract , he gets payed according to how well he plays , if he doesent make certain amount of points , he will not get payed the same.

  15. sanjay says:

    I seem to have sensed a limp in his walk! Is that the way it has always been? Is that his normal gait? Or I am seeing something new after the operation with that leg? If that is the case he is not fit to come back at all!


  16. walter berbeder says:

    @happymtz..check you vocabulary man, on how u define genius? the bulls is a good team no matter who coached them,even mike brown can coach them and make the play-offs and even with-out D-Rose they can still be a play-off team, with 3 caliber players in the likes of noah,deng & boozer. with D-rose in the helm thay can be a contender and note only a contender..getz? @ Lummylumz eevry player in the NBA is paid to be in the court to play and not to stand and play lame.thats instinct man..a players instinct to play whenever your inside the court, unless ur not a player i guess..lets play basketball and play it out till the time runs out..thats how play Lummy Lame?

  17. ce4ko says:

    It will be better if he sits the playoffs… we’ve all seen Hoop Dreams… we don’t want this to happen again… πŸ™‚

  18. Drewmizer says:

    Derick rose is scared and soft. He is showing that this season.

  19. LummyLumz says:

    Thibs was getting some mileage back in to Rose’s legs in that game. Hindsight is a great thing, but at the time he would have made a decision and Rose would have agreed to it. Derrick still attempted to take the ball to the hole, when he could have stayed out on the perimeter and played the game out.

    It’s a freak accident and nobody is to blame.

    We need a solid 2 guard to win the east. As a Bulls fan, I know we aren’t deep enough this year to take the conference. Give Rose a full off season to gain his confidence and start fresh next season. As somebody who has had a knee injury, there are so many mental demons to get past before you can move forward.

    • June says:

      Sometimes desperation brings out confidence in dozes nobody can compare to get in a full season…

  20. shepherd says:

    i think drose will return in game 3 in front of the home crowd. now that the series is 1-1 they have a chance to take it

  21. walter berbeder says:

    nonetheless, it is the coach who made this all wrong for chicago and D-rose..if everyone remembers the bulls are up by at least 15 or 16 points with maybe a couple of minutes left in the game of eastern 1st rd series against philly, after a time-out why this stupid coach still play d-rose..with a win game already in hand after atime out he should have taken out his superstar..so what happens after the next play d-rose was injured severely that cause them the season and i think cause d-rose career, i hope its not the end for d-rose. coach TBD is an idiot and stupid coach..he dont deserve any credit at all and he should return the COTY throphy..too bad for D-Rose.

    • Happymtz says:

      Sure, those couple of minutes would have magically repaired Rose’s ACL… And a coach that can take a team this far with he limited resources that the Bulls have had this year is not an idiot, is a freaking genius

  22. kraz says:

    rose should come back off bench with limited minutes otherwise bulls have no chance. i oting that bad again, he will figure hinrith out and come back strongcant see d will sho

    • June says:

      Now this post is more economical in terms of Rose getting used to the team and team risking on letting Rose play again… A few minutes so Rose could get used to the team and the team getting used to Rose playing while not really risking too much of the season to lose… But I highly think Rose and the Bulls knows how it is to play with each other. Maybe they’ve been letting Rose play practice with them so that when the time comes, he’ll come back with no problems whatsoever…

  23. Art says:

    Rose is not Noah and not Deng. He doesn’t have a spirit. If he can play on Hinrich or Robinson level he had to play.
    But if he now worse than Teague it’s better to take a rest.
    Next year he should earn leadership first. For now Bulls is Noah/Deng/Butler/Boozer/Hinrich/Robinson/Gibson/Belinelli/Mohammed team.

  24. usbuck says:


  25. Faizan Syed says:

    Any player, even Derrick Rose will need 3-4 games to get used to team again and the team is going to need the same time to get used to having Rose in the line-up. They will struggle in these games but it will help them in the long run. But the fact of the matter is, this is the play-offs you cannot afford to lose 3-4 games it would be best if he just stays out for this season and comes back when he can afford to lose a few games, which is the beginning of the next season.

  26. Midieval says:

    If Rose comes back..they are taking the east for sure !


      I want what your smoking lol. If Rose comes back Chicago wins the east? Are you crazy? No way in hell will a rusty Rose beat the Best team in basketball with the best player in the world. Give up on that crazy talk.

      • June says:

        But the best team in basketball should be a team where Brian Scalabrine, Brian Cardinal and Matt Bonner should be playing in… That’s the best team for me… Two mamba’s and a Janitor…

    • Deadpan Guy says:

      Really? Miami has no chance then?

    • jose says:

      At 6.1 and recovering from a scary ACL accident, DRose , is not longer what he was in the past. No more jumping above 40 inches , no more going on the sides to skip Defense and ,yes, a Ton of fears about having a new rupture again .
      Stop bringing DRose affairs again. You have been doing it for the whole year and he never appeared.
      Miami HEAT champs!!!

  27. dirk45 says:

    ESPN wrote early march that the doctors gave their ok. I’m still wondering what keeps him off. If every player that had no chance of winning a ring stayed sick there wouldn’t be many players in the league.

    Maybe he’ll return after seeing Noah, his team mate, today.

  28. Give it a Rest Already!!!!!! says:

    He’s not coming back

    Players need 2 years to fully recover. Even when they return after a few months it takes a full season after to get their rhythm

    back. Stop it. Stop waiting, Stop moaning, and Accept it. If they play like today ( With EFFORT) they can win this

    series and more. Just let him rest and return with a full season

    • slider821 says:

      I agree, soft players who lack confidence need more than a year to come back. And we knew he had no confidence in himself when he briked those 2 free throws to lose the NCAA championship game. He is not mentally tough so his return will take longer.

      I just hope he milks adidas for more The Return videos with all his free time. Next one is called The Return…To Training Camp, it’s so heartwarming.

      • RememberShaq says:

        Well said !!!

      • June says:

        Can’t say it’s true but I’d be surprise if he comes back and suddenly, the Bulls is a championship team again… Unless it’s too late and they got blown off…

    • vito says:

      noah’s heart like a lion. On the other hand, rose’s heart like a mouse.

  29. ArkitekSkam says:

    I think when you let a guy of Rose’s caliber come back during the playoffs its more for morale reasons than just expecting to win the championship. He is, afterall, a leader on his team and every team benefits dramatically from having their general running with them as opposed to not. If its really a problem, work him in with the bench.. I would wager that a Rose, coming off the bench after a 1 year injust, is better than Heinrich whose more of a spot up shooting 2 guard than an actual point guard. Basketball isn’t like football, these guys wont forget how to play by losing a year, I know guys who sit away from playing school yard ball who can coe back to it years later and still ball. If he wants to, let him. You have to give your team their best possible chance to win everytime they hit the court

  30. Unkle Daddy says:

    Here is the deal. The Bulls are very solid, but even with Rose at 100% they aren’t winning any rings this year, sorry it’s the truth. They need to add a better than average 2 guard (and not one that was, one that is) and a deeper bench, plus Rose at 110% to make it out of the east. They should have brought back Crawford when Atlanta was to dumb to hold onto him.

    • Oakley34BLAM says:

      Crawford doesn’t play enough D to mesh in Thibs’ system, but I agree that is the area they clearly need to improve. Butler though, has come on very strong. As a Knicks fan I can never root for the Bulls but this team has my complete respect. Boozer and Noah are warriors, Deng is a quiet killer on both ends, and the guardplay of Butler, Robinson, and Hinrich has kept them very competitive in what many predicted would be a lost season.

    • Iceman says:

      J. Crawford is a monster on offense, but man couldn’t guard a German train schedule if he wanted to. Bulls are known for gritty and very physical defense, I’m just not sure if J.Craw would fit. I’m not even sure if their defense can win to the East Finals without Rose’s presence on the floor.

    • Josh says:

      I don’t get why its always “have no hope of winning a ring.” Says who? Do you think the bulls are in their locker room saying to eachother “Hey guys, lets just win this one series, we have no hope of winning the championship this year though.”

      If Derrick Rose is healthy he should return, point blank. He should not be thinking his team is not good enough or some other nonsense comment. If he is then he doesn’t deserve to play in the NBA. Anybody who isn’t going out every night trying to win shouldn’t be playing and I don’t want to watch it.

      • steve says:

        No hope of winning the championship….. says me

      • RememberShaq says:

        @Josh : That tells you how the 2010-2011 MVP was a hand out to him against LBJ. Dude is not tough at all; name 1 MVP who sat down for 1 year not playing basketball. If there is on, thx for bring him up. I guaranty that Kobe will be back in less than 9 months, even though he is an A**.

    • allan says:

      They have their future 2 guard in jimmy butler…and they have a crawford on the team..his name is nate robinson and he doesnt dance with the ball as much

  31. Oakley34BLAM says:

    The reason LJ said Ewing looked like he’d been in the gym for an hour already is because Ewing is the most prolific sweater (not the garment…rather ‘guy who sweats’) in the history of the world.