Derrick Rose will return to the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night as they take on the Orlando Magic. Rose is returning from knee surgery and has missed the past 20 games, but many believe Rose can propel the Bulls as they look to make a push in the playoffs. The Bulls currently sit at third in the Eastern Conference with five regular season games remaining.
We’ve seen this movie before. The Bulls continue to win without their star point guard that they drafted in 2008 and look to make an emphatic run upon his return. Rose has had three knee injuries that required surgery over the past four years. (An ACL tear, a torn meniscus, that same meniscus re-torn).
No matter what happens to the Bulls as a team, or Rose individually, he should be appreciated among NBA fans. This season, Rose has played 46 games, averaging 18.4 points and 5.0 assists. Rose played in only 10 games last season, and prior to that in 2012-13, he missed the entire season recovering from surgery.
The fact that Rose actually re-injured his knee with the same injury and is coming back within the same season makes this comeback even more impressive than the past two. Rose deserves some sort of recognition for his high dedication to the game of basketball, and his determination to re-join the Bulls in the confines of the 2014-15 season. Rose is playing despite the fact that he may have very serious knee issues later in life. He’s honoring the game higher than he’s honoring himself. Nobody would hold anything against Rose for electing to sit out the rest of the season and miss the playoffs. Regardless, he’s returning after his third significant knee injury in two years to only try and help the Bulls.
The mindset of head coach Tom Thibodeau has allowed the Bulls to overcome many injuries and remain third in the East. The defense and rebounding of Joakim Noah has always been impeccable, and the addition of Pau Gasol this season only added to the Bulls’ grit. Aaron Brooks filled in for Rose and held his own as a starter, putting the Bulls in a very comfortable position to make a run in the East, with or without a significant impact from Rose. Also, having Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic around will help take some offensive pressure off Rose.
Rose is from Englewood, Chicago, an extremely rough neighborhood that has molded other NBA players like Anthony Davis and Jabari Parker. Due to the high level of crime in the area, population in Englewood has drastically declined in the past 10 years. For those who can’t afford to leave, basketball is a way out of that difficult lifestyle, making players that come out of there hungry for success, but still humble knowing their roots.
Growing up, Rose wore No. 25 at Simeon Vocational High School to honor Benji Wilson: An Englewood product who was tragically murdered outside the school in 1984. Wilson was highly regarded as an up-and-coming NBA star, ranked No. 1 in the nation for his level at the time.
The symbol behind Rose’s number was powerful. Basketball was a way of life for him and a tool he used to stay off the streets. As a result of his upbringing, Rose has remained a quiet and humble NBA star. Three knee surgeries later, he’s still that star. He’s still that kid that wore No. 25 in high school.
Rose has done the game of basketball justice and deserves recognition for his individual efforts this season. He returns to the court tonight in Orlando, and he’ll honor Wilson, Chicago and himself by doing what he has always done:
Just playing ball.