Rose says he “might have a chance” of returning in series against Miami.
Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has defended team-mate Derrick Rose, amid growing criticism over whether the star point guard should return or not.
Rose has missed the entire season thus far following a torn ACL in last year’s Playoffs, and despite being medically cleared in March he continues to sit on the bench and is still adamant he isn’t confident enough to return.
There have been calls from supporters and ex-players for him to speed up his recovery given the injuries and illnesses sustained by the likes of Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng over the course of the post season, but team-mate Noah had a message of support after the impressive Game 1 win over the Miami Heat on Monday night.
“Derrick’s a brother. And to see him go through this is tough but at the end of the day it’s really funny how quick people are to judge. But people don’t know what it’s like to lead a team, especially after you tore your ACL,” he told reporters after the game according to ESPN.
“If you tore your ACL and you have to be the starting point guard and have the expectations that Derrick has then maybe you can judge, but everybody who hasn’t been in that situation before should really shut up because I feel like it’s just so unfair to him and to this team,” he added.
Ahead of game-day practice in Miami on Monday, Rose revealed that his status for the series was “still up in the air” and that he might have a chance of returning to the court at some stage.
Despite his prolonged absence, the Bulls have successfully advanced past the first round at the expense of the Brooklyn Nets after a hard-fought 4-3 series victory, while they sealed a shock 93-86 win over the Miami Heat to take a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
However, with injuries taking their toll on the roster, there has been growing criticism directed at Rose to speed up the last stage of his recovery and take to the court.
Having been given the go-ahead by doctors almost two months ago, it appears the mental barriers preventing him from returning are yet to be overcome. Despite the impressive nature of Chicago’s run without him, they will undoubtedly hope to see him make a comeback to boost their post season hopes.
Regardless of outside expectations, it is clear that Rose’s long term future is paramount to the situation and he will not be rushed back into action until he says he is ready to play. Given his style, importance and long-term future, there is still plenty of support for the star in his recovery bid.