16 January 2012
Not good, folks. This is what Derrick had to say to the Tribune before today's matinee game against the Grizzlies currently in progress:
"It still hurts a little bit, but I still have to go out there and play. Almost every game, I jam it. By the way that I play and push off, it hurts. I'm very surprised. And I'm kind of irritated. I want it to go away. But it always finds its way back."
Clearly this toe injury is now becoming a serious issue. It's something he's been dealing with his second season and it's just not going away. If you think about what it is, you can understand why. Every NBA player, especially someone with Derrick's burst, obviously pushes off that toe on pretty much every possession, offense or defense. While you might be able to play through it, maybe off of adrenaline if nothing else, after the game it's going to swell. Something like this doesn't improve over night, and it can only heal with rest. And if you don't rest, you're only making it worse. And if you make it worse, it could lead to surgery.
Not to be grim or expect the worst, but I can very much see the Bulls sitting Derrick for about a month in order to allow the toe to heal. That's just my own personal opinion based off what I think about this injury, and not based off of anything I heard. But you gotta think it's a strong possibility at this point. Obviously, this would be incredibly dissappointing, but probably necessary. It's unfortunate, as the Bulls currently hold the best record in the NBA, mostly because of Derrick's MVP caliber play. With him out for an extended period of time, they'll likely slide a bit toward mediocrity and certainly aren't likely to keep pace with the Heat. But they are deep, and the key is to play the long game. The playoffs are the long game. On the other hand, playoff seeding is extremely important, and the Bulls don't want to lose ground.
It's a tough scenario, but it's something many teams will likely be dealing with throughout the season. Unfortunately, no other team is probably as reliant on a player as the Bulls are reliant on Derrick Rose.