The 24-year-old Rose suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in Game 1 of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Despite being medically cleared on March 8 and participating in full contact practices for almost two months, the youngest man to ever earn the Most Valuable Player award never did perform this season.
“An NBA player’s body, if he does anything to hurt his own body he’s wrecking his own career. You let them listen to their bodies,” said Calipari, 54, a two-time Naismith College Coach of the Year who instructed Rose at Memphis in the 2007-08 campaign.
“The second thing is, I’ve talked to Chicago Bulls management, I know all those guys’ and you know what? They’re fine. They didn’t want him to go back. As a matter of fact, they wanted to announce he wasn’t coming back, but Derrick didn’t want to do it because he thought if there is any chance for me to come back. But let me ask you this: At the end of the day after they got going, and they were going to play Miami in the second (round), what good would it have done other than he could have got hurt? Tell me what good it could have done?
“So all this stuff, is all fine, all I can tell you is he’s a great kid, the Bulls supported him. I support him because I’m not gonna (say), ‘Yea, head out there, why doesn’t he come back this is crazy the doctor cleared him, okay now he got hurt.’ How do you feel now? Knowing him the way he is, knowing he is a great kid and somebody who probably in the worst way wanted to play, but just was so tentative he wasn’t right. He didn’t trust it yet and you gotta respect that.”
Thanks to ballsy competitors like Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Joakim Noah, the fifth-seeded Bulls nearly forced the Miami Heat to fly back to Chicago for a Game 6 in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Although calls for Rose to resurface were entirely understandable, it’s hard to fathom the native South-Sider wouldn’t have been on the hardwood without a solid reason.
Plus, even with a blooming Rose, Miami was eventually going to scorch this particular version of the Bulls.
Dismissing cries from fans and mounting criticism from onlookers, Derrick Rose is “a great kid” and person who absolutely “wanted to play.”by