Hubbard: History suggests Rose critics should be careful

Derrick RosePerhaps the most impressive aspect of the controversy engulfing Derrick Rose is that he has been supported by the majority of journalists who expressed an opinion. (For example, here.)

That’s not to say his continued absence from the Bulls’ lineup has been universally endorsed. Some have ventured into the dangerous territory of suggesting that Rose should be playing after undergoing surgery on his left ACL, and certainly the Bulls encouraged such criticism in March when they announced that Rose had been cleared to play.

Fans and radioheads wonder why Adrian Peterson can come back from ACL surgery after 10 months and rush for 2,097 yards. They also wondered why Rose can practice seemingly at near-full strength, yet can’t play a full year after his surgery.

And the answer is quite simple: If you are not inside Derrick Rose’s body – and only Rose is – then you are simply not qualified to make a judgment on how he feels.

Premier athletes have bodies that function at different levels of preparedness. Michael Jordan could ignore the flu (or stomach poisoning) and score 37 points in an NBA Finals game. Curt Schilling could have stitches to hold a dislocated ankle tendon into place and still pitch seven innings in a World Series victory despite blood oozing from the sutured area.

But many great athletes have bodies that are like finely tuned stock cars. A minor engine problem can cause them to misfire, and if they are not 100 percent, they simply cannot run. It’s not a matter of will or determination; it’s a genuine discomfort that prevents them from rose-wallfeeling healthy or confident enough to play.

Like so many occurrences in the NBA, there is precedent for injury controversy with teams, media and fans declaring a player should be playing when he is not. Perhaps the most famous involved former 76ers shooting guard Andrew Toney, who had several outstanding years with the great Philadelphia teams of the 1980s.

During four great seasons beginning in 1981-82, Toney averaged 18.6 points and shot an impressive 51 percent from the field – the majority of those on 15-to-20 foot jumpers. That was obviously excellent shooting for a guard.

He had so many great games against the Celtics – especially in the playoffs – that he earned the nickname “The Boston Strangler.” But in the 1984-85 season, he began experiencing pain in his feet and started missing games. The Sixers’ medical team could find nothing wrong and an ugly scene ensued. The team, in essence, said Toney could play. He said he couldn’t.

A public battle began between owner Harold Katz and Toney, and as Jackie MacMullan wrote in a thorough 1991 article in the Boston Globe, Katz even had Toney tested for drugs. Toney complied – and he was clean. 


  1. says

    Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic however ,
    I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in
    trading links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa?
    My blog discusses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I think we could greatly benefit from each other.
    If you happen to be interested feel free to send me an email.

    I look forward to hearing from you! Superb blog by the way!

  2. Shaun says

    You do know medical technology has come a long way since your examples of players coming back to quickly. Recovery and Rehab was supposed to take 8 to 12 months. Rose is going on month 13 now. This by no means is rushing back. I support rose but I have lost a bit of faith in him.

  3. Brian says

    Geez, more writers on Rose’s jock. Yes, we’ve all heard the Barkley stories about Toney, and the Grant Hill story. Rose is milking it. I think you know it too.

  4. steppxxxz says

    the problem is that Rose practices …and has been practicing with the team, full work outs according to those watching…..and so it makes him look like a wimp. And frankly this bullsh&¤# about an athlete’s body is like a maserati is idiotic. NO….most people have to go to work less than 100%. If rose is so finely tuned, then stop collecting checks until you play. Thats not likely is it. I wish I could call work and say, hey, I dont feel “perfect”… not going to show up. IF its such a problem, such a risk, why is he practiving with the team at all???????? Rose created this problem….all he had to say was, I wont be back until next year. And then SIT. Dont show up and practice. Greg doyle at CBS sports has a great piece on this topic.

    • John Blaze says

      Calm down, your too emotional right now. Let me gonna break this down for you.
      1.Him Practicing: He was “cleared” to play mid-march, you can’t participate in a full practice untill your “cleared” so he would have had 1 month of full workouts to be Rose of 2011 (nobody would accept less of him), obviously they (Bulls org/Rose’s team) felt that would be a bad move. Also once the playoffs started his practice time more than likely was cut since he is not active player at this point. So His “full” practice is not as much as you think.

      2. A PROFESSIONAL athlete’s body is a high performance machine and should be treated as such, especially one’s at Rose’s level. There is a reason you can do factory work in your 50s but most athletes have retired from their sport at 35. Sports at the pro level (outside of golf) require more of your body then you would ever imagine.

      3. As far has him being paid while he sits…..Paid leave is given for certain medical reasons, that’s the point of insurance. As far as you calling out when your not “perfect” you can do that, but your job can fire you, his can’t (contacts, unions etc). I’m sure you hate baseball players too cause they call out for weeks about ANYTHING.

      4. Now here you not wrong….just incomplete. Rose did not create anything, the Bulls front office should have not spoke on any doctors reports untill Rose said so. True, Rose should have said something by now but lets not act like he did this alone. Coach Thibs held him out of Game 3 Friday, but won’t kill the idea of him returning. Show me one time where Rose said he was ready anyway? This is the fault EVERYONE’S mis-communication, not just Derrick Rose.

      PS: There’s been rumors of Bulls team doctors trying to rush people back due to pressure from the front office(might explain the Deng & Hinrich situations) and rumors of those same doctors not being that good of doctors to begin with…..No excuses just some food for thought. Peace.

      • steppxxxz says

        Let me break this down for YOU……first off, this nonsense about athlete’s bodies being the Masaratis of mankind is given the lie by Rose sitting there eating skittles throughout the game. A lot of fine tuning going on with pure sugar. Secondly…..he was cleared to play., So either the doctors are wrong, and if so, then that should be made clear, or Rose is just mentally not ready….which is what I think.. Rose’sbrother said emphatically he would play this year. So there is also that. I have a hard time imagining Kobe sitting this out, or MJ or Bird. All of them had pretty severe injuries throughout their careers. Come playoffs, if you can run around and shoot…i.e. practice…..then you can play. Thats the whole damn point. As for full practices I only go by the reports of sports writers who ARE there, because I am not there. IF you listen to journalists covering the Bulls, the practices have indeed been full. So……someone is fibbing, or several people, or………Rose is just mentally unready and if thats the case, its a big hit to his rep.

        • ETK says

          “if you can run around and shoot, then you can play” no! It doesn’t fuckin work like that!

          The reason Rose can’t come back is because he feels lingering pain when he takes severe contact to his knee. Are you actually saying practice is comparable to a real NBA game? Let alone that, a NBA playoff game!? Playoffs take more physical toll on the body, you think if Rose can shoot, he can come back. That’s stupid.

          IF you heard the multiple interviews courted by Thibodeau and Rose, they cover this issue multiple times.

          And “others have had severe injuries throughout their careers” is the most asinine point. This very article spouts off why that argument is bullshit. EVERYBODY IS NOT ROSE. And none of those guys have had torn ACLs. Torn ACL is one of the most dangerous injuries a superstar can sustain – and by the same token for the record, Brandon Roy had to hang em up a few years ago due to a torn meniscus. Your knees are part of the most important joints in order to play basketball.

          Just because Rose practiced doesn’t mean he’s 100% and this ‘nonsense’ you mention is the exact thing you fail to understand. You’re not in Rose’s shoes, you don’t know how he feels. So of course, that allows you to think he’s “mentally this” and “mentally that” when other players have had it worse than him. Grant Hill took a risk coming back early within his injuries and look what happene to him. Never the same player again. Rose doesn’t want to risk that. It’s a long-term decision. And he has the right to live with it.

          • steppx says

            curious the doctors cleared him then isnt it. If you read greg doyle over at CBS sports, I think his take is about right. If there is such a big risk, then he should have been shut down months ago. ACLs are reasonably common….adrien peterson comes to mind, but Iman shumpert is another…..and he was back and playing months before rose. You can argue this all you want….Rose is so special and he has to be perfect….blah blah. Fine…….then shut him down. The perception is that he has a mental problem returning, and he wouldnt be the first, but given the situation at the very least it was handled very badly. ANd he should talk to his brother too. So NO, pal, my argument is not asinine…..its perfectly reasonable, actually. Rose should be playing…………

    • BP says

      and you’re exactly the kind of bullshit fan he’s talking about. Rose doesn’t wanna risk being another Grant Hill. you’re sitting behind a keyboard having never suffered such an injury in your life, calling him a coward.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>