By Sam Zuba-
(CBS) Let’s get one thing straight. The minute Derrick Rose steps foot on the court, none of this will matter.
Since Rose went down with an ACL injury last April, media speculation on his return has been rampant. Adidas’ marketing ploy of “The Return” hasn’t helped things either, engaging fans for a return that was still months away.
After Rose underwent ACL reconstruction surgery last May, team physician Dr. Brian Cole assessed that, at best, Rose would be back in early January, but he also cautioned that the former MVP could miss the entire 2012-13 season.
“While he will hopefully be at a very high level in 8-12 months, it still may take slightly longer for him to be at his pre-injury level,” Dr. Cole said after completing Rose’s surgery. “That’s not uncommon in athletes of his caliber.”
Let that sink in. Dr. Cole said the surgery went “extremely well” and yet Rose still could miss a full year.
It’s been less than 10 months since that surgery.
Adrian Peterson is the exception – not the rule.
We all need to relax.
In the past month, it seems there’s been an new “Derrick Rose Injury Update” every day. The talk has shifted from Rose’s knee to how his handlers have conducted themselves; how the Bulls have handled the situation; how Rose may be mentally and physically weak because he’s not ready yet.
We’ve all lost focus on what matters here. We’ve become like impatient children waiting for a present. Can we have it now? No. What about now? No. Now? No.
The bottom line remains that Rose isn’t ready to come back. He may be medically cleared to come back, but he’s not back yet.
The speculation needs to stop. The talk centered around anything other than his knee needs to end.
I don’t care what Reggie Rose says. I don’t care what PR drivel the Bulls put out. I don’t care what Adidas does. I don’t care about anything other than the strength of Derrick Rose’s anterior cruciate ligament.
It’s like we’re waiting for water in a pot to boil. Every time a bubble pops up, we run around like madmen trying to figure out what it means.
He’s practicing? Okay, great. He’s participating in five-on-five drills? Wonderful. His brother has opinions? Fine. He’s experiencing a burning sensation in his hamstrings, likely due to overcompensating his injured right knee? Got it.
Until Derrick Rose holds a press conference to say, “I’m back” none of this really matters.
Has the situation been handled poorly by the Bulls and Rose’s camp? Without question, but this is basketball, not the PR Olympics.
The goal here is to win the franchise’s seventh championship, not to please fans and media by saying “He’s not ready” in the proper way.
When Rose is cutting toward the lane in the way only he can next season, none of this will matter – not what the Bulls said, not what Reggie Rose said and not what Adidas said.
I urge you to look at what truly matters here. Don’t lose sight of the fact that Rose is a 24-year-old point guard with talent this team hasn’t seen in 15 years.
When the water is ready to boil, it’ll boil.
When Rose is ready to play, he’ll play.
Sam is the sports content producer for CBSChicago.com and 670TheScore.com. You can follow him on Twitter @SamZuba.