Derrick Rose will have surgery on Friday morning to repair the torn medial meniscus in his right knee, the Chicago Bulls announced Thursday. While the club won’t lay out a timetable for the injured point guard’s recovery until after team physician Dr. Brian Cole actually performs the procedure, Bulls brass sure sounded optimistic Thursday about the possibility that we haven’t seen the last of the former MVP this season.
The Bulls said Rose will undergo a meniscectomy, which is a removal of part or all of the meniscus. The Tribune, citing sources, has reported there is considerable optimism that Rose’s second meniscus tear is small.
Until the surgery is performed and surgeons know how much of the meniscus needs to be trimmed, it’s unknown what the timetable for Rose’s return is. […] If the tear is small and only a small portion of the meniscus is trimmed, it’s possible Rose’s timeline could be in the three- to six-week period. Rookie Doug McDermott, who didn’t have the injury history Rose did, returned to the court following his meniscus surgery in three weeks and to practice in four.
The high end of that three-to-six-week timeframe dovetails with what Dr. Alexis Colvin, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital who has not examined Rose, told Andrew Seligman of the Associated Press represents the general recovery time from a meniscectomy, although it “could take longer for someone with a previous tear.” The low end of the window, though … well, given Rose’s history, including a tear to the same medial meniscus just 10 games into the 2013-14 season, that would seem to be borderline miraculous.
And yet, six weeks from Friday brings us to April 10, three games before the end of the Bulls’ regular season and eight days before the start of the 2015 playoffs. Even the far end of the timeframe, then, makes a Rose return this season conceivable … and, based on the comments of several members of Chicago’s front office at a team charity function following Thursday’s announcement, that’s a door the Bulls are keeping open.
Hope is a good thing — maybe the best of things — but amid the optimism, there also seem to be some causes for concern. Down the line, there’s the physical concern that removing the meniscus could, as our Kelly Dwyer wrote Wednesday, “leave Rose far more prone to the sort of pain and ‘minor procedures’ that have plagued post-snip players like Dwyane Wade as they’ve grown older,” or, in the worst-case scenario, the brand of cartilege-free, bone-on-bone agony that led to the early end of Brandon Roy’s career.
In the here and now, there’s also the reintroduction of the problematic dynamic that Rose and the Bulls fostered during the 2012-13 season as he rehabilitated from his April 2012 tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. If the front office and medical staff are suggesting Rose can come back, but Rose himself doesn’t feel “110 percent” right and ready to do so, then the team’s setting the stage for yet another messy battle.
A player coming off three knee surgeries in three years becomes demonized for wanting to feel totally confident in his body before returning to the fray. An organization realizing that this year’s model — with Jimmy Butler reaching All-Star status, Pau Gasol looking like the fire of old offensively, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson doing the dirty work in the middle, Nikola Mirotic and Mike Dunleavy Jr. bombing away, Tony Snell coming into his own on the wing, and vets Aaron Brooks and Kirk Hinrich helping man the controls — might well represent its best chance for a title becomes an ogre for wanting its catalyst point man to return and lead that championship charge.
A locker room full of supporting cast members have to answer the same questions about their fallen comrade over and over and over again. The last two months cease to be about what the Bulls are doing as they make their playoff push, and instead become entirely about when Derrick’s coming back. The specter of a Rose comeback that never came enveloped the end of the Bulls’ 2012-13 season; by leaving the door open with less than two months remaining before the playoffs, Chicago could be inviting a similar shadow here.
And yet, this is what you do when optimism reigns and a puncher’s chance to hoist the O’Brien stands before you. That’s the way the Bulls seem to be looking at it, anyway.
“We have a lot of faith in Derrick,” Reinsdorf said Thursday, according to Johnson of the Tribune. “We know he has gone through a lot the last few years. We’re behind him. And we think he’s going to be good.”
All that remains, then, is to find out whether the tear’s small enough to validate the team’s optimism, and whether Rose himself is as willing to go for broke as the Bulls’ brass is. One thing’s for sure: Friday ought to be a very interesting day in the Windy City.
Wishing Rose a speedy and swift return to the court! #beattheCavs15