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The long road back

Mike Ginocchio | Tuesday, April 23, 2013

In case you’re interested, the NBA playoffs started this week. In case you’re really interested, it looks like there are going to be some pretty good teams competing this year for the glorious position of being curb-stomped by the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. (And I’m not even a Heat fan. But let’s be honest: can YOU think of a team that could conceivably beat LeBron and company four times out of seven games?) Truth be told, I don’t really care about any of the players that are playing this postseason. I’m more interested in one player who is not.

No, I’m not talking about Kobe Bryant.

Yes, I’m talking about that other guy.

Derrick Rose.

Recently, a Chicago Bulls fan declared he was going to launch a lawsuit against the Bulls’ star point guard who has sat out this entire season and may miss the postseason while recovering from a torn ACL. Among other things, the man claims that Derrick Rose’s refusal to return to play has caused him “multiple mental breakdowns” and “emotional distress.” I suppose I don’t blame him, though I’m surprised the guy didn’t also throw in Carlos Boozer as a co-defendant as well.

Yes, I am a Chicago Bulls fan. Yes, I have been frustrated by Derrick Rose’s many false starts to returning to the court. Yes, there have been times where I watched his slow recovery and wanted to point to cases like Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson’s miraculous recovery from an ACL and MCL tear and scream, “What’s taking so long, Derrick???”

But then I started thinking. Have fans gotten desensitized to horrific injuries because of the advances made in modern sports medicine and thus expect an unfairly fast recovery time? Yes, we’ve made it possible for athletes to continue playing after having their ligaments and tendons look like someone took a chainsaw to them . . . but that isn’t really the norm. Speaking as a guy who had a knee surgery, sometimes it’s a matter of the person’s own biology as much as it is the modern marvels of medicine today. Unfortunately, I can speak from experience when I say it can take a really, really long time for a knee to recover from even a minor injury.

So, I guess what I’m saying is maybe Derrick Rose was blessed with incredible talents, but one of them was not a fast recovery time from serious injuries. And that’s okay because, in a way, it makes me feel like he’s more like the rest of us. So, us Bulls fans should stop grumbling about his extended recovery time and instead wait in great anticipation for his triumphant return to the United Center in Chicago.


Contact Mike Ginocchio at mginocch@nd.edu@nd.edu

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.