By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) Somebody is going to be disappointed soon. That somebody, though, won’t be me.
We’re nearing the return of Chicago Bulls superstar guard Derrick Rose. Maybe. Probably. Or not.
Comcast Sports Net’s Aggrey Sam explained Friday that “(N)ext week’s three-game, week-long home stand at the United Center could be the last opportunity for him to return this season…” Head Coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t completely rule out a Rose near-return Friday. “(W)hile Thibodeau said the former league MVP was ‘unlikely’ to play Friday — widely interpreted as leaving the door open for a return — the word ‘highly’ could probably have preceded that.” Many Bulls fans took the Lloyd Christmas approach to the coach’s words and thought to themselves “So you’re telling me there’s a chance.”
Little is clear then about Rose’s return at the moment. One thing that is for sure is that Rose holds the keys to the ignition right now, though he might need permission to take the car out. “While Rose is certainly progressing in his recovery, a source with knowledge of the situation explained to CSNChicago.com that although the injured superstar would be the one to give the initial go-ahead, it would take more than just him telling Thibodeau, ‘Put me in, Coach,’ to finalize the process.” That permission need not come from doctors anymore, as they’ve already given Rose the go-ahead, which has led some to criticize Rose for not being in games already and to question his mental toughness, something that was hardly in doubt when Rose was acting much the assassin against opponents in previous years.
And speaking of CSN, they stoked the rumor flames when the network announced last week that Monday’s game against the Denver Nuggets would be moved from Comcast Sports Net Plus—a mark of inferiority to another sporting event when yours is relegated to the hard-to-find badlands of that channel—to regular Comcast Sports Net. This while the very popular Chicago Blackhawks play, demoting them to the Plus that’s really a minus. It’s not as though Denver’s JaVale McGee, who rightfully has a cult following of which I include myself as a member, is bumping expected ratings. Thibodeau suggested Sunday that Rose is likely not playing on Monday, but it created a lot of wishful thinking for some.
So if Rose does return Monday night or later this week even, many Bulls fans will be excited, while many who are against his risking further injury or believe he shouldn’t cave to any pressure from fans or the organization won’t be quite as happy. It has gotten to the point for me, though, that whether Rose is on the court in the final 17 regular season games and/or playoffs or not, I don’t care all that much.
Don’t get me wrong. If Rose plays Monday night or Thursday or next week I will be immediately entertained. A Bulls game can only be all the more better with him involved. I’ll be interested to see how he’s able to cut and slash. Will his shot be too rusty? What about his minutes? And, eventually, it will be HOLY HELL DID YOU SEE THAT MOVE BY ROSE?!!! But I can’t get over the big picture, and that is that without a championship run, I’m not excited overall.
And the Bulls are not winning a championship this year, even if Rose returns to top form that he was at prior to tearing his ACL. Hate them as much as you want, but the Miami Heat are a juggernaut and are not finishing the season without another Eastern Conference title. “But what if…” No. “Maybe they…” Stop. Unless Lebron James is eaten by a shark on South Beach, the East is sewn up. Accept that. Then you get to become an Oklahoma City Thunder fan again or maybe one of the San Antonio Spurs.
And when I know things are fait accompli I have a difficult time getting jacked up for it all. I don’t enjoy being such a sports nihilist in that regard, but I can’t bring myself to get lost in the emotion if the final product is pointless. And pertaining to the 2012-2013 Bulls season, a Derrick Rose return is ultimately pointless. But so is the effect of his absence on this year, too.
Perhaps getting back out there is best for Rose’s head, helping him shed the new fear of his own body and to rid himself of the cobwebs on his game now rather than in autumn. But it’s at most what? Twenty-something games with an early playoff exit? Maybe that’s not worth risking another injury in an otherwise pointless season. A broken ankle or contracting the plague from the Washington Wizards or accidentally overdosing on the fumes from Carlos Boozer’s Hair In A Can will have everyone screaming in 20/20 hindsight. Maybe having an unhappy superstar in a time where you’re not built to win a title—and probably won’t be until 2014-15—isn’t the best scenario. Maybe Rose picking sides in what seems to be an external battle between his employer and his loved ones while fighting his own internal battle can only poison future waters. Don’t think free agents (who have historically spurned Chicago) aren’t paying attention to how the Bulls appear to treat the team’s best player since Michael Jordan. In the end it overall seems lose/lose.
See why I’m indifferent?
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget , but please don’t follow him in real life. He grew up in Chicago’s Beverly To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.