Point guard set to undergo surgery on Monday and is out ‘indefinitely’.
Chicago Bulls fans have been here before, and it isn’t a spot they thought they would be re-visiting again so soon.
With Derrick Rose set to undergo knee surgery on Monday to repair a medial meniscus tear, fanatix NBA experts Sumeet Paul and Scott Hazlewood discuss where it leaves the Bulls and their point guard moving forward.
Sumeet Paul: So, here we are again. Derrick Rose is set for knee surgery and with it is arguably the end of the Bulls’ championship hopes. Putting the team aside to begin with, how devastating is this for Rose on a personal level in terms of looking at his career moving forward?
Scott Hazlewood: I think really only he and his inner circle know that for sure at this stage. What’s being said to him, what his body language is like. But from the outside looking in, this is a massive blow to his confidence going forward with the rest of his career. When an athlete feels like they cannot trust their body to stay in one piece, they normally go back into their shells for fear of heading down the road of recovery again.
Given he wanted to take the extra time out last season to make sure his body was right, what do you think Rose and the Bulls will do with this latest setback?
SP: The initial suggestions are that Rose’s season is done with the likely recovery period set at 4-6 months. Given his trepidation at returning too soon last year, I think we may well have seen the last of him this season. While that isn’t what Bulls fans want to hear, what it will offer both Rose and the Bulls is a chance to regain his confidence and fitness, while plans potentially could already start to be made looking at the roster for next season.
SH: Because that is the big question that is being asked, aside from what Rose will do himself, but what will the Bulls do with the side. Their entire team structure has been built around Rose,and when he has missed so much of the playoffs in the past two years and all of last season, they have to be asking, ‘do we put all of our stock on one player’. Luol Deng could be used as tradebait and they also have to look at Carlos Boozer to see if they could be getting more from their power forward position. Although I think many teams will be wary of touching Boozer with his large contract, and I feel, diminishing skill-set.
SP: Exactly that, I think Boozer will be the first to go but I still find it unforgivable that Deng’s contract situation hasn’t been sorted yet. Nevertheless, I didn’t feel the Bulls had the pieces needed to win a championship with Rose this year, let alone without him. The question they now face, more so after the heavy loss to the Clippers on Sunday, is what can they realistically achieve this year?
SH: They still have too much talent on the books this year to tank completely and enter into the Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker sweepstakes. Mind you they would love to still have Nate Robinson on the books.
In just a split second the Bulls have almost become the Lakers, dependant on their one superstar to lift them to a possible lower play-off berth or bust. Really there is not much else the Bulls can play for this year, they will play hard as they always have without Rose in their side. But the lack of scoring they suffered for all of last year without the Chicago native in the side will again hurt them, especially in a deeper Eastern conference. I guess moving forward after the surgery and rehab, is, does Rose need to change how he plays basketball or risk becoming like Greg Oden and Penny Hardaway and having injury shortenend careers?
SP: Agreed, the Bulls are certainly weaker now than they were last year, even more so the year before when Rose went down in the play-offs where they had a number of shooting options and the ‘Bench Mob’. In terms of his play, I think we saw examples of what he may do in the future. Clearly his explosive cutting and movement in getting to the basket is taking its toll on his body, and there was a more rounded element to his game in terms of his increased three-point shooting. At times he almost acted like the shooting guard for Kirk Hinrich, and that is arguably the direction we may see him move toward in the coming years if the breakdowns continue.
SH: The fact this latest injury came as a result of non-contact means his own body is betraying him. No doubt he put in countles hours in the gym preparing for this year, but his playing style, as exciting and fun as it is to watch, it literally tearing his body apart. Do you think Rose will seek out other players who have come back from severe injuries of late? He could do worse than look at a role-model in the form of Kobe Bryant.
SP: Possibly, but as you alluded to earlier, he knows his body best and sometimes it is difficult to look at others when you have your own doubts. The messages of support that came flooding in after the news broke shows how well liked he is in the NBA, and he would be wise to search out advice and take inspiration from someone like Bryant. However, the disappointment of seeing him sidelined again is a difficult one to take at this point.
So on a final note, prediction for the Bulls seeding this year, if there is to be a post-season? And, will we ever see the best of DRose on the court again?
SH: I think they could still just sneak into the playoffs but only just. The question is how much damage will be done to their record in the aftermath of the injury and will it be made worse if the news comes out the damage is worse than first feared. Because the Bulls looked emotionally beaten against the Clippers. If Rose takes the longer surgery option, rather than having the meniscus taken out which could have him back on the court in weeks not months, we won’t see the best from him until the 2015-16 season. Because at just 25, Rose, could, still have plenty of good years left in him, and he and the Bulls support staff will do everything in their power not to have him end up as a long-term injured star again.
SP: Chicago in as the 7th or 8th seed this year with Rose back next season and the Bulls front office putting better pieces around him. Wishing Rose a speedy recovery.