Don’t Blame The Lockout

May 4, 2012 by


It’s unfortunate for any team to lose its star player to injury.  It especially hurts if that player goes by the name Derrick Rose and the injury came in the final few minutes of your opening playoff game.  Those are the misfortunes teams must endure.  Beginning the playoff without last year’s MVP makes a difficult road for the Chicago Bulls.  Fans and media will look at the Bulls 18 – 9 record without Rose in the lineup this season, there maybe even a hint of optimism for a deep run.  However, we all know you can’t advance without your star player; this is not baseball.

The media and clueless Bull fans need to point fingers and assign blame for Rose’s injury.  The latter need to attack and distance themselves from their desire to curl up in the fetal position, while the media needs a story to sell tells.  Rose tore his ACL on a drive to the basket in Saturday’s series opener.  That’s it.  ACL’s tear, even those playing sports professionally, it’s not just happening to old dudes playing pick-up hoops at the Y.  I know what you’re thinking, this snarky, simple explanation does not suffice.   There are questions to be answered, Goddamn it!  Unfounded completely ridiculous answers will be accepted, logical ones, however, will be rejected.  Though it might be fun to join in the blame game, I’ve decided to stick with the logical approach to answering questions.  Sorry.

Here are the questions that came forth over the weekend and eventually spilling into sports talk radio over the past three days. 

Question: Why would Chicago Coach, Tom Thibodeau, not sit Rose in the remaining minutes, especially when they were up by 12 with 1 minute 22 seconds to play?

My Answer: ACL injuries occur in sports all the time.  Thinking about potential injuries to players is typically not top of mind at this moment when you are a head coach.  Also it’s not the norm for a coach to remove star players, or even starters, especially in a playoff game, up by 12 with more than a minute to play.  I would conjecture most coaches rarely pull their starters with more than a minute to go in the playoffs at all, unless you are playing the Knicks in round one

Question: Can’t we agree that the lockout and this fucked up regular season schedule, with limited time off between games caused Rose to tear his ACL?

My Answer: I don’t agree.  ACL injuries occur in sports all the time.  History shows that ACL injuries have happened to NBA stars in the past, and get this, even in a normal 82 game regular season with ample time off between games.

Question: Can the Bulls advance far into the playoffs without Rose?  That 18 – 9 regular season record must be good news, right?

Answer: My answer to the first question is an emphatic no.  My answer to the second question is no that is not good news in the least bit.  Good news would be that the reigning MVP is not injured and will be suiting up to play in the opening round series against the Sixers.  It’s a different game altogether in May and you need your star power.  That is why no one should think that the Indiana Pacers will go far in the playoffs, because Danny Granger is their best player.  That I would define as bad news.

Question: Who should we blame?

My Answer: God?  Your Mom?  Isn’t it clear there’s no one to blame?  It’s just a really fucking frustrating situation if you’re a Bulls fan.  That’s it.  It just sucks, that’s it.


Derrick Rose plays an overly aggressive style of basketball.  This is typical with young and highly talented players who can score off the dribble.  Eventually Rose, like many before him, will learn to score in other ways, minimizing the pounding to their body.  The light bulb will eventually go off with players of Roses’ caliber once they completely grasp the game mentally, not relying on physical talent alone.  They learn the game in their twenties; they win championships in their thirties.

What did the lockout tell us?  Most players didn’t do a fucking thing during the bickering, maybe they’d given up on the season, who knows?  Last year’s finals MVP, Dirk Nowitzki, couldn’t get up and down the floor the first two weeks.  Dallas eventually shut him down so he could work himself back into shape.  It’s sad, to say the least, for a vet like Nowitzki.  Paul Pierce clearly spent most of October and November sitting on the couch and shoveling food into his face.  A 49, Michael Jordan would have provided better minutes the first two months of the season than Pierce did. 

The first two months of the season were embarrassing for a lot of players. This was not the case for Tony Parker and LeBron James.  They began the season in mid-season form.  Tony Parker never stopped playing basketball in the off season.  He joined his national team during the Olympic qualifying games and played exceptionally well.  It’s hard not to argue his time on the court led to an MVP like season.  LeBron kept busy playing exhibition games with his friends all over the globe.  Say what you want about LeBron, but unlike Nowitzki nursing his championship hangover and Pierce’s inability to even pick up a basketball in the fall, he was ready to play, putting Miami in position to make a run at the championship.

When Derrick Rose kept missing games this season because of back it became quite apparent he never completely healed.  Bad habits easily develop when returning too soon from back injury.  The injured player becomes cautious attempting to avoid further problems.  The results are often mental block or   ineffective play.  Many times they contort their body to relieve the pain and discomfort when not at 100%.   Doing this could lead to a major injury that puts them in jeopardy for the following season.

The Bulls had a playoff spot wrapped up by the break.  Rose would play, then not play, then play for a game or two, and then miss large chunks of play, resulting in missing 27 games of the regular season.  Back injuries are slow to heal, and rehab is tedious.  So it might have been best for the Bulls to shut him down for the months of February and March.  Maybe the outcome of Rose’s season would have been different if he came back from a long break completely free of injury.

But then again, ACL injuries occur in sports all the time.

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