Remember the opening line in the TV show “The Six Million Dollar Man”? Steve Austin. Astronaut. A man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better. Stronger. Faster.
Derrick Rose is now playing the role of Steve Austin. He has a newly reconstructed left knee after tearing his ACL in April. Prior to the injury, Rose was one of the most explosive players in the game. He could speed past defenders with ease, contort his body in midair and finish at the rim. Those are the type of moves that made him the NBA’s youngest MVP, and his enormous potential prompted the Bulls to ink the 23-year-old superstar to a $95-million contract extension in 2011.
But Rose is now at a crossroads. He is coming off major knee surgery and there are no guarantees he’ll return to his old form. Even Rose is a little worried.
Sports Illustrated writer Sam Amick recently wrote that Rose’s status for the 2012-13 season remains questionable, and the recovery process could extend all the way through February. Rose is reportedly doing some heavy lifting (literally) in the gym to strengthen his upper body, but his lower body is the one that needs more attention. There is a small chance that Rose could miss the entire 2012-13 season, and a lot will depend on the team’s record. If the Bulls are out of playoff contention, the Bulls won’t hesitate to shut Rose down.
It has been five months since the injury happened, and Rose remembers it like it was yesterday.
The Chicago Bulls’ superstar told CSNChicago.com he spent “the whole time praying” during the MRI that he wasn’t seriously injured even though he heard a pop as he crashed to the court in the playoff opener against the Philadelphia 76ers on April 29.
“I remember it,” Rose said. “I remember everything. I remember jumping in the air and coming back down, and just that popping sound. I felt it actually tear when I laid all the way out and it just let go.
“I didn’t have that that much pain after that. In the beginning I did, but I didn’t want to yell or anything. When that happened, all I could think about was people just talking. You could hear the whole arena, people just whispering all around — one of the things, like ‘Not again. Come on, man. First game back. We had the win’ — and I was just hoping [it was] nothing serious,” Rose continued. “Then, we got to the hospital, got in the MRI machine, the whole time praying.
“Dr. [Brian] Cole, the Bulls doctor [who also performed the subsequent surgery], came up to me and told me it was torn. I couldn’t believe it. That’s the closest thing to death, the closest to death I’ve got to right there, where it just seemed like the wind and everything was taken out [of me].”
Rose has been in Los Angeles rehabilitating the damaged knee and, as painful as the process has been, he says he’s right on schedule. So Bulls fans should stop worrying and start buying into team once more.
“I’m good, man. I definitely haven’t been out like that, but I’m doing fine, just trying to stay positive, keep everything normal,” Rose said. “Coming out to L.A. and just seeing the scenery, just being out here makes me feel good, with my friends out here making me feel more like I’m at home. Just doing therapy out here, five days out of the week. Weekends, I’m not doing anything. It’s been hard, definitely been hard. But I’ve been all right.
“The injury could have been way worse. You’ve got some people that probably feel worse than I am, but I know I’m going to be all right. I believe in God, my spirits are up and I believe in myself, and I know I’m going to be back even stronger.”