derrick-rose

The short version of this story is simple. Derrick Rose, the 2011 NBA MVP and Chicago Bulls point guard, ambassador to the South Side of Chicago suffered another setback in his return to previous glory. This time, a tear in his right meniscus will force him to undergo surgery. The Bulls have no timetable for his return.

The longer version, the one where this story about Derrick Rose and how his body is betraying him, where the Bulls front office is left to deal with another long stretch of the season without him and his career is once more up in the air … will be written at some other time.

I don’t laugh at injuries. More often than not I wince, I shake my head and pray for speedy recoveries. Rose’s latest setback punched me in the gut the moment I heard the news because at this point, it’s starting to resonate with me that all Derrick Rose really wants to do is play basketball at a high level. The same level that got him away from Englewood and a scholarship to play at Memphis for a year before moving back to Chicago. That level that is seen as inspiration to hundreds of thousands inf not millions solely because Rose means more to Chicago than any other athlete means to their respective hometown community save maybe LeBron James and his beloved Akron.

We’ve been here with Rose not just twice but thrice now. Each moment, each lingering thought and idea of hard speculation about his future and “what could have been” stretch further and further. He “might” be what Penny Hardaway ended up as. Or Tracy McGrady. Or Gilbert Arenas. Or Grant Hill. Cautionary tales of bodies who were destined for much larger only to be remembered differently.

Nobody wants that fate for Rose, not basketball fans and definitely not those close to him. And as someone who’s watched his game from afar, the news of this latest injury completely sucked the joy from me. I couldn’t be happy, just pained. Because I want Derrick Rose to be Derrick Rose, not completely defined by basketball but someone who’s fought injury and expectations time and time again to reach a new level.

I hope that I’m not wrong in that.

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