Welcome to the Sunday NBA Fix for Aug. 17, the morning after Chicago fans delighted in something they hadn’t seen in 272 days—Derrick Rose playing actual basketball at the United Center.
Rose last played in front of his hometown fans on Nov. 18 when he scored 12 points, dished five assists and had three rebounds while shooting 4-for-13 in an 86-81 win over the Charlotte Bobcats.
That was three days before the Chicago Bulls embarked on a quick two-game Western sojourn from which—in terms of actually playing basketball—Rose never returned.
In Portland on Nov. 22, Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee, underwent surgery and didn’t play again in 2013-14.
Rose was back, not in the black, red and white of the Bulls, but rather in the red, white and blue of Team USA as the hopefuls for the squad USA Basketball will take to Spain at the end of the month for the FIBA World Cup played an exhibition Saturday night at the United Center against the Brazilian national team.
Rose started and played 24 minutes, finishing with seven points, four rebounds, two assists, a blocked shot and a steal, hitting 2-of-5 from the floor.
He missed a couple of dunks, made a highlight-film worthy play with a crossover in the third quarter, but he looked explosive and athletic, like the Derrick Rose we remember.
And he walked off the floor healthy at the end, which was really the only other thing Chicago fans wanted to see.
Here are some of the highlights:
It was another Chicago product, Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans, who stole the show in Team USA’s 95-78 win. Davis had 20 points, eight rebounds and five blocks in 26 minutes to lead four Americans in double figures. James Harden of the Houston Rockets finished with 18 points, Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets went for 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors scored 10 points.
But the crowd was there to see Rose, cheer Rose and not be wondering when—or if—they would get to do those things again.
The 2014-15 season is an incredibly important one for Rose, a former Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player. Since winning MVP honors in 2010-11, Rose has played in just 49 of Chicago’s 230 regular-season games and one of the Bulls’ 23 playoff contests.
He tore his left ACL in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers on April 28, 2012. He didn’t play at all in 2012-13.
He returned to play 10 games last season before going down with the meniscus tear.
What gets lost in all of that is that Rose missed 27 games in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season before blowing his knee late in the playoff opener. He was plagued by a bruised toe, back spasms, a strained groin and a sprained ankle and a right foot injury.
Rose has never played a full 82-game schedule. He played 81 games as a rookie in 2008-09, 78 in 2009-10 and 81 in 2010-11.
Derrick Rose is an undeniable, franchise-altering talent. He will be 26 by the time the regular season opens in late October, so he’s plenty young enough to bounce back.
But after missing the better part of three entire seasons, the former No. 1 overall pick faces many more questions than answers.
Those answers started to come Saturday night in a pedestrian seven-point performance in an exhibition game for the U.S. national team.
So rather than 1,000,001 questions, we’re down to … say … 999,999.
Here are some of the things making news around the NBA this week: