By Dan Bernstein-
CBSChicago.com Senior Columnist
(CBS) It seems we have been asking the wrong questions of Derrick Rose.
Instead of “How are you feeling today?”, “When do you think you will be able to come back?” and “Are you making any progress?”, we should have him answer this:
Why are you refusing to continue your rehabilitation, per instruction from the team doctor? After being a model patient for months, why did you choose to stop the program at its most important time?
Rose has been green-lighted for nearly two months now, yet insists on remaining sidelined. He scrimmaged at full speed on February 18th, and the Bulls assumed – mistakenly — that he would heed the prescription from Dr. Brian Cole to complete his recovery by playing in games soon after that point.
Sources say the team was surprised and disappointed by Rose’s uncharacteristic reluctance, and decided a month ago to remind him privately of the agreed-upon timetable that included a return to the court when cleared medically. They also leaked an internet story that indicated that the Bulls expected him to play in mid-March.
This was taken as an insult by the Rose camp, despite their campaign afterward to deny that fact. The Bulls believed then that they said what they needed to say, and did not plan to further urge their star via any channels.
But it’s four weeks later, and Rose still will not complete his rehab.
Some have speculated that he and his advisors do not trust the team medical staff, but we would know it by now if he had sought outside medical counsel that provided any kind of actual diagnosis conflicting with what he has currently. Somebody close to him would have wanted to put that out there, if a valid second opinion existed.
Other pie-in-the-sky hypotheses involved Adidas-controlled conspiracies of multiple permutations, a quasi-holdout to protest the lack of improvement around him, and a complex explanation involving Sam Giancana, the Illuminati, the Federal Reserve System, the Priory of Sion, and alternative subtexts intended by Stanley Kubrick in “The Shining.”
The whole episode makes less sense with each passing day. Over the weekend, Rose debunked the idea that he was waiting to return until he could play full starter’s minutes, telling reporters: “I’m going to play whenever I’m ready. I don’t care if it’s 15 or 40 (minutes).”
He also made yet another reference to the role of the supernatural in his comeback, saying that he has been “just waiting, just praying about it.” This after his repeated insistence that “Nobody knows but God,” “Only God knows,” and “It’s in God’s hands.”
Actually, his knee was trusted to the hands of Dr. Cole. If the time has come to stop obeying him and instead listen to some invisible sky-being, then he should have the latter repair the torn ligament next time. Do a laying-on of hands, light some candles and hope for the best. No more silly medicine for him like reconstructive surgery, if higher powers of healing have taken over the job.
As was noted in this space previously, it was explained to Rose that real game action is the final, critical stage of rehab, and the period during which one’s return to previous form accelerates. Anyone pointing to the 12-month window must know that the doctors’ initial estimation included such games.
Rose owes his bosses better, now. The Bulls have every incentive to want the best for his health for both the short and long term, and are taking the high road in allowing an employee to reject a team medical plan on his own whim. To be sure, nobody benefits from a hard standoff.
He can pray all he wants for some kind of sign that it’s time, but that very thing was presented to him directly a while back and it looks like he’d rather ignore it.
Dan Bernstein joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995, and has been the co-host of Boers and Bernstein since 1999. Read more of Bernstein’s columns, or follow him on Twitter: @dan_bernstein.
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