Three days after he performed reconstructive surgery to repair the most important anterior cruciate ligament –and meniscus tear– in the Chicago Bulls’ franchise, orthopedic surgeon and Bulls team physician Dr. Brian Cole, gave an optimistic assessment of Derrick Rose’s future– but sealed Chicago’s hopes of a championship next season.
On Tuesday, Dr. Cole spoke at Rush University Medical Center alongside Bulls general manager Gar Forman and head athletic trainer Fred Tedeschi, in a room filled with anxious reporters, and delivered the prognosis for Rose’s recovery. The short answer to everyone’s question was: it would take eight to 12 months for the NBA’s former MVP to fully recover. The long-term answer was somewhat daunting. Dr. Cole predicted that from an athlete of Rose’s caliber, there is no exact timetable for complete recuperation. That full recovery is not only solely based on how the knee responds to rehabilitation, but more on how the player heals psychologically.
“While he will hopefully be at a very high level in 12 months, it still may take slightly longer to be at his pre-injury level,” Cole told reporters. “There’s only so much that willfully is under our control. [The rest is] all about physiology, how the body responds and confidence issues. There’s a lot of variability.”
Although, the Bulls are equally hopeful that Rose will return to an MVP level, they aren’t counting on the Chicago native returning next season. And they aren’t even planning for it. Forman explained that the Bulls’ plan to keep the core of the team –that delivered the league’s best regular-season record in consecutive seasons– together with an eye toward the future. “We’re hopeful at some point he’ll be back,” stated Forman. “The biggest thing in my mind and our mind with an injury like this is we’ve obviously spent a lot of time putting this team together. Everything was looking at the big picture, long term, and it’s our job to stay focused on that and continue to look at what we feel is a long window of opportunity to have success.
“Have we taken a hit in the short term? Without question. Will we make decisions based on the short term? We won’t. Our decision will continue to be based on the long term, and a big part of that is Derrick.”
Derrick Rose is and will be the Bulls point guard of the future, but in the interim, who will lead this Chicago team to a third-consecutive best regular-season record?
The point position is one that Forman and the Bulls front office will have to address immediately. Without Rose, the Bulls became only the fifth No. 1 seed to lose to an eighth seed– as the Philadelphia 76ers eliminated them in Game 6 of their first-round series. Rose’s backups of C.J Waston and John Lucas III were destroyed by the Sixers backcourt of Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams, and management can’t expect to lead the Eastern Conference again with those two at the helm. So now, the Bulls must look to make a trade or turn to the draft to upgrade at point.
With the penultimate pick of the first round, Forman’s picks at point guards will be slim-to-none. Unless they figure out a way to make a move for the best point in the draft in Kendall Marshall of North Carolina, the only other prospect worth looking at is the 6’3 Damian Lillard of Weber State, who averaged 24.5 ppg, 5.1 rebounds and four assists a game his junior year. The Bulls would do better looking in the D-League.
Another scenario is to bring in a veteran point guard, who can manage the team until Rose returns. Enter Jason Kidd. Kidd’s experience and championship pedigree is what a GM would want on his team. It’s a gamble worth taking. Aside from being the best point guard available this summer –at no cost– Kidd’s veteran leadership and basketball I.Q. alone will help improve the Bulls. Coupled with the fact that he would be the best backup to compliment and mentor D. Rose, Kidd is Chicago’s best option at this point.
With Rose out for the entire 2012-2013 season, which point guard do you think could hold down the fort in his absence?
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