Derrick Rose is a fragile superstar. The Chicago Bulls have a lot invested in him–in terms of money and strategy. The team’s future–at least as the team is currently constructed–totally depends on a healthy Rose to move the Bulls from ferocious competitor to possible champion. The Windy City has been waiting two years, sometimes impatiently, for their 2011 NBA MVP to return. Now he’s back, sort of. Rose is officially healthy. He’s wearing the uniform. He warms up before games, but lately he hasn’t played in them–missing three of the last four. He’s always a “game-time decision” and the decision–made by Rose more than by coach Tom Thibodeau–is always NO.
Coach Thibodeau sounds a little impatient, too. ESPN reports Thibodeau said, “If he can go, I think he has to go. If he can’t, then he doesn’t. It’s really that simple. It’s the only way he’s going to shake the rust off is getting out there and playing.” What Thibodeau wants is a full team–to see what it’s like to coach one. Chicago fans, like their coach, have to keep balancing their desires between how much they want to see Rose play and how much they want him to be 100% healthy. (Bulls faithful are spoiled. The only games Michael Jordan missed in the championship years were the ones he took off to play baseball.) With so much uncertainty it helps to know that Thibodeau is clear–if he has a Rose willing to run, Rose is going to play. If he doesn’t, you know Rose doesn’t feel like he should.