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Chicago Fans Anticipate a Rose In Bloom

Photo by: Chris Szagola/AP Images

Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose is preparing himself for one of the most important seasons of his basketball career.  The 23-year-old South Side Chicago native makes his return this year from a season-ending ACL injury.  There is already a lot of pressure on Rose to prove that he can return from injury and show the world he is still effective on the court.  Many fans hope that Rose can make it back and lead the Bulls to the playoffs in 2012.

“I think Derrick Rose is a symbol of what Chicago basketball could be,” said Kevin Le, a long-time Bulls fan  “Rose is a great talent that… Chicago has needed to rebound back to having a great squad.”

During the first game in the 2012 NBA Eastern Conference playoffs, Rose went down with an injury that had Chicago fans holding their breath.  After a hard play at the rim, Rose fell to the floor squirming and grabbing his leg in pain.

“It was really frustrating to see after we had such a solid season and were on a roll into the post-season,” Le recalled. “Everyone we watched the game with couldn’t believe their eyes.”

Bulls fans’ worst nightmare came true when it was announced after the game that the superstar guard would be out for the remainder of the post-season.  Rose injured the ACL in his left knee, which required surgery and an extensive recuperation period.  The injured knee not only ended Rose’s 2011-2012 season but also threatens to keep Rose on the bench for a majority of 2012-2013.

What’s most important in Rose’s recovery is not getting back on the floor too soon, and making sure he is strong enough to play.  The last thing the Bulls want is for their superstar to be re-injured.  Precautions will be strictly followed said Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf in an interview with ESPN.

“I’m not going to let him back until the doctors tell me that it’s absolutely safe for him to come back,” Reinsdorf said on ESPN 1000’s “Talking Baseball” on Saturday. “I made that mistake with Michael Jordan years ago where I think we let him come back too soon. It worked out OK, but it might not have. This time I’m not going to make that mistake.”

What concerns Bulls fans the most is whether Rose will be the same player he was before the injury.

“I think Derrick Rose’s biggest challenge after he returns from his injury this season will be staying healthy and maintaining his level of play where he can avoid being re-injured,” Le said.

Often times when athletes go down with an injury similar to the one Rose sustained, they lose some quickness and explosiveness in their game.  The challenges Rose will face will be playing with the intensity and speed he played with before he injured his knee.  Rose’s cutting and slashing style of play, which relies on his quickness to get to the rim and score, could prove to be dangerous to the athlete’s immediate return to the game.

“I think Rose is finished,” said Joaquin Puente, a young Bulls fan. “There’s no way he can return with the same style of play and remain healthy.  He makes plays off his speed getting to the basket and finding open shooters.  He himself is not a stand-up shooter.  We know him as a driver.”

Before going down in the post-season against the Philadelphia 76ers, Rose had an outstanding regular season. The all-star point guard led the Bulls to 50 wins out of their 76 season games.

Before the injury Rose averaged 21.8 points, with 3.4 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game.  His stellar play excited Chicago Bulls fans with hopes of making it to the NBA finals.  After the Chicago Bulls drafted Rose, a Chicago native that was born in Englewood, the super star lifted the spirits of the basketball-loving city and rejuvenated the sagging basketball program.   The young point guard helped the Bulls to the post-season for four straight years but continued to fall short of making it to the finals.

The Bulls open their 2012-2013 season on Halloween night at home against the Sacramento Kings.

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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.