Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose is just five months removed from ACL surgery, but his recovery is progressing ahead of schedule by all accounts. Still, some have suggested that Rose is being optimistic if he thinks he can play this season. There is a growing movement of fans and pundits who believe that Rose should sit out the entire 2012-2013 NBA season, in order to return at full speed next year.
Rose has heard these calls and he isn’t dismissing the idea. “Everybody has their own opinions,” Rose told ESPN. “When the time comes I just have to be ready and prove to the people here that I am ready to play. Who knows when that time is? If it’s all year I might wait the whole year, so what?”
Typically, recovery from a torn ACL takes 8 to 12 months. Rose’s injury occurred on April 28 of this year and he had surgery on May 12. That would mean that the earliest he’s likely to return is January.
However, it appears that elite athletes are now able to recover from ACL injuries faster than ever before. This season in the NFL, there have been a number of high-profile running backs (Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Rashard Mendenhall) who have returned from torn knee ligaments and performed at a very high level well ahead of when they were expected to.
Ultimately, Rose’s decision may not be his alone. Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf says that he will step in and prevent Rose, or his team’s coaches and training staff, from rushing Rose back.
There are only a handful of players in the NBA who truly fit the bill as “franchise” players–guys who have the ability to almost single-handedly lead their teams to a championship–but Rose fits the bill.
The Bulls would be wise to play it very safe and give him all the time he needs to feel strong on his knee before he returns to the court. Sitting out the entire season makes a lot of sense. It would be difficult for Bulls fans to endure in the short-term, but it gives the team the best chance of winning a championship (or multiple championships) in the long-term.