Leading up to the Chicago Bulls‘ opening up the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night, many Bulls fans have operated with the false sense of hope that Derrick Rose–who missed the entire 2012-2013 NBA regular season–would make his return in the playoffs for the Bulls. Chicago Bulls’ head coach Tom Thibodeau first mentioned that possibility in February. However, on the day of the start of the NBA Playoffs, Thibodeau is singing a different tune.
Tom Thibodeau moved the closest to declaring Derrick Rose out for the season Saturday morning when he said the Bulls’ star is “most likely out” moving forward in the postseason.
“But you never know,” Thibodeau said. “The playoffs are stretched out too, so you have to factor that in. Who knows another week from now where he is? You always want to leave that possibility open.” Chicago Tribune
Can’t say that the news is all too surprising that Rose likely will not play in the playoffs. The idea of Rose returning for the Bulls in the playoffs seemed far-fetched. However, one thing this news does is provide clarity for the Bulls. Meaning with Thibodeau inching closer to ruling Rose out for the remainder of the playoffs, that means the team will not be pressed for daily updates on the progress of the star point guard. Instead, the team can focus on their first round series against the Nets without dealing with the Rose distraction.
Throughout the season, I personally have suggested that Rose should return if he is healthy. Like Thibodeau, I have changed my tune. There no longer is point to Rose returning this season. When the season started, the expected plan was for Rose to return during the regular season–likely in February or March–and that would allow the point guard enough time to be prepared for the playoffs. Once February and March passed and Rose remained on the sideline, that is when it made more sense for the Bulls to sit the point guard for the remainder of season and the playoffs as opposed to bringing him back.
While the immediate focus will be on the Bulls’ playoff run, there is a larger story looming. That story is the fact that by the time Rose is ready to return, it will be nearly one year and a half since he last played a game for the Bulls. During that time, Rose’s mentality has been questioned and some Bulls fans have lost respect for the former MVP. These will be sentiments shared by Bulls fans during the summer as they wait for Rose to finally make his return for the Bulls in October–we hope.