The Delayed Return of Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose was expected to return to the Bulls on Wednesday but he is not completely healed from his eye bone surgery, specifically swelling around the eye. He won’t be available to play the rest of the preseason and may miss opening night against the Cavaliers on October 27th which will be played two weeks from today. This setback is the latest in what has been a series of setbacks for the one time MVP whose career has been narrowed by injuries, both major and minor, these past three seasons.

“They still want him to be a little bit careful just with the swelling, make sure that his vision is back to where it’s supposed to be, back to where it was before he got hit, before they want him to get anything going on with his blood pressure spiking is kind of how I understand it. So he’s probably at least a week away from that happening to where he’s able to get out and work up a sweat and then hopefully it’s full go from there to where we can get him out into some contact drills, get him back out there running our offense and hopefully get him ready to play. So I think it’s still yet to be determined if we’re going to have him for the opener.” (Fred Hoiberg, Bulls coach)

The inability to fit Rose for a mask until the swelling recedes is symptomatic of how his recovery has gone so far: good but not great. The Bulls first week of the season is a schedule of more not less. They play the Cavs on Tuesday the 27th. They travel to Brooklyn after the game and play the Nets in their home opener. On Friday the 30th, they are in Detroit to play the Pistons. They are at home on Sunday to play the Magic, then go back on the road to play Charlotte.

It’s a packed schedule and for a player who hasn’t played a preseason game and who is no doubtedly rusty on the one hand and anxious to participate on the other, the schedule may dictate when to bring Rose back. He’s going to have to work his way into game shape reflected by his minutes starting in the 20 minute range and going from there because his knee history cannot be ignored. Asking him to play at a high level without any games is a recipe for disaster that Fred Hoiberg acknowledges.

“We got to make sure he hasn’t really done anything and that will be a good two or three weeks where he has total inactivity so just to throw him back out there going 100 percent with your speed and everything, you just don’t want to take any risks, any chances, where it could be a lingering issue. It’s a long season, 82 games, and hopefully, the playoffs, you want to have Derrick there for the majority of that.”

Ultimately, if the Bulls are thinking about the best thing for Rose it would be to keep him on the shelf until November 5th. Then the Bulls are at home against the Thunder. They are at home on the 7th against Minnesota. Then they play Philadelphia on the road and are back home against the Hornets and Pacers. 4 out 5 home games gives Rose the tune-ups he will need before throwing him out there full time and expecting extraordinary results.

photo via llananba