The injured Rose and Griffin have a ton in common (USA TODAY SPORTS IMAGES)
WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Nobody thought it would take this long for superstar Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose to heal from his torn ACL.
Rose suffered the heartbreaking injury 11 months ago, on April 28th in the first round of the playoffs. With 1:22 remaining in the fourth quarter of a blowout first round game against the 76ers, the image of Rose laying on the court in tremendous pain was burnt into the minds of sports fans. Not only was it a crushing blow to the Bulls, but to the entire NBA. Ala Robert Griffin III, Rose was still in the beginning stages of becoming one of the poster-boys for the sport of basketball.
Nobody likes seeing superstar talent away from their respective stages. So Adidas fueled the fire for Rose's emphatic return, dubbing his recovery process 'All in for D Rose'. The Bulls front office didn't really patch together a plan-B at the point guard position either, thinking that Rose would return no later than January for a playoff push. Now some have begun to criticize Rose's toughness. And yet Rose still hasn't succumbed to the tension pulling him in all directions.
Somewhere during his recovery, a light bulb went off in Rose's head. He realized his torn ACL was a product of overdoing it. During the shortened 2011-2012 season, the point guard missed 39 of the team's 66 games -- turf toe, back spasms, a pulled groin and a foot injury completely bogged him down. Maybe something similar will click during RGIII's recovery. If Griffin had sat out week 16 and 17 games against Philadelphia and Dallas and properly healed, we may not even be talking about his knee.
What the Redskins organization and Griffin III need to recognize, and mimic, is Derrick Rose's extreme patience and maturity during this process.
"I'm not coming back until I'm 110%. Who knows when that can be? It can be within a couple of weeks. It could be next year," said Rose in an interview with USA Today on February 12th. "It could be any day. It could be any time. It's just that I'm not coming back until I'm ready."
I'm not faulting RGIII for targeting week one as his lofty goal, less than nine months removed from surgery. We all know he thrives under pressure. But if Griffin doesn't come out and make a blanket statement, like Rose, saying it could take all of 2013 to heal, a public fiasco for the Redskins will ensue if RGIII isn't starting in week one.
The media and active bloggers will demand answers on what type of setbacks have taken place, when in reality, the ACL process is all about time. And the Redskins will have to be transparent about this entire process because of the secretive nature Griffin's injuries were handled by Mike Shanahan and Dr. James Andrews last season. Griffin has to take responsibility in this situation and become the caretaker of his own body -- using the Seattle game as a sticking point memory -- knowing the fate of an entire franchise rests on the health of his knee. He has to realize as much as he embodies London Fletcher, they are completely separate players.
It's become clear the Bulls -- 36-29, good for sixth in the Eastern Conference -- are nowhere close to being an elite team without Rose's MVP abilities. Some argue that Rose's slow return has become a humongous distraction to the team. But Derrick Rose hasn't exactly been sitting around either. NBA reporter Ric Bucher is claiming he's improved the arc of his three-point shot, his mid-range jumper and his 10-foot patented floater. When the time is right, Rose will be back to lighting the NBA world on fire, and the Bulls will be championship contenders.
Rose missing the entire 2012-2013 is not the end of the world. Re-injuring his ACL would be, though. As we get closer and closer to the NFL season, Griffin must apply the same 110 percent rule to himself.