Playoff-bound Bulls in dire need of superstar guard Rose to return

Kevin Kiani

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Bulls guard Derrick Rose tore his ACL last year and has been cleared to play. He has however chosen to sit out until he feels healthy. Courtesy of MCT

You could hear a pin drop in the United Center when Derrick Rose tore his ACL during game one of a first round playoff matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers.

“Holding on to his knee, holding on to his knee and down,” were the words uttered by TNT analyst Kevin Harlan that sent shockwaves through
Chicago and its rabid and passionate fanbase.

Almost one year removed from that injury, Rose has worked his tail off in rehab and is now medically cleared to play by doctors but has still not taken the court because he just doesn’t feel ready.

Although the Bulls are used to playing without Rose, they are simply surviving and staying afloat in the Eastern Conference with their tough, gritty defense that ranks third in the league in points allowed.

Since February, the Bulls have struggled losing incredibly lopsided games, including a 42 point beatdown at the hands of the Sacramento Kings and a 32 point shellacking courtesy of the Denver Nuggets.

It could be a result of a long season and expanded roles by players who aren’t used to so much playing time but playoffs are approaching, and the Bulls are falling down the standings. Chicago is 29th in the league in points per game, which is one of their glaring weaknesses and further proof that they need their Chi Town hero back.

Rose has said he will come back when he feels ready and I respect that decision because nobody knows his body other than him. With that said, Rose needs to at least give his teammates mental preparation going into the playoffs if he will be there or not. If he is on the cusp of coming back, his teammates can hold down the fort and play with motivation and
energy knowing their star will be joining them soon.

The Bulls last year were used to playing without Rose, and were very successful at it. They finished 50-16 in a lockout shortened season and earned the number one seed in the Eastern Conference despite Rose missing 27 games due to various injuries.

Knowing Rose was going to be back, the Bulls played inspired and were mentally prepared for his return. When he went down in the playoffs, the Bulls looked shell shocked after going up 1-0 and lost four of their last five games to the eighth ranked 76ers, losing the series 4-2.

Rose’s impact on the Bulls when he comes back is unknown because tearing an ACL is a very difficult injury to recover from, especially for a player like Rose who heavily depends on his athleticism to be effective. But his presence  will energize his teammates,
the city of Chicago and all basketball fnas.

Whether it’s this season or next season, when Rose checks into the game for the first time, expect a standing ovation, grown men in tears, and a kid from Chicago ready to put his city back on his shoulders.