Below is an except of my article from NBA.com/Philippines.
An enormous shadow
For many National Basketball Association (NBA) fans around the world, the end of the 2011’-12’ NBA season stood out as more than just the Miami Heat fulfilling championship expectations, it also cast an enormous shadow over the future of Derrick Martell Rose, the Chicago native, reigning league Most Valuable Player (MVP), and the Chicago Bulls perennial all-star point guard who had torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee during Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The severity of the injury brought back memories of Michael Jordan’s sophomore season with the Bulls (1985’-86’) wherein he missed 64 games due to a broken left navicular tarsal[i]. Back then, the Chicago Bulls were cautious with Jordan’s recovery and they took a similar stance in dealing with their current franchise player’s rehabilitation over that summer and into the following season.
On the same day that Rose was injured, then-rookie Iman Shumpert of the New York Knicks also suffered a similar injury to his left knee when he tore his ACL and lateral meniscus. However, Shumpert returned to action in less than 9 months (mid-January 2013) and ended up playing in 45 games for the Knickerbockers. Comparisons between the two players began to surface and many openly questioned why D Rose had not done the same considering that he had been medically cleared to play and that the Bulls would need his services more than ever if they were going to make a dent in their 2012’-13’ NBA Playoff run.
What a lot of critics were not aware of was that the 2011’-12’ season had been a trying one for Rose as he had suffered a number of regular season injuries[ii] prior to the auspicious playoffs series against the 76ers. During his press conference at the Manila Marriott Hotel last Monday, Derrick reflected on those injuries as well as what steps he would take to prevent them in the future.
[i] A small bone in his left foot.
[ii] Elbow [November 2011]; sprained left toe [November/December 2011]; back spasm [February 2012]; groin strain [February/March 2012]; sprained right ankle and foot.