If there’s any pressure on Derrick Rose to come back from his injury, it sure isn’t coming from the Bulls management.
In an interview on WMVP AM 1000, Bulls VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson denied any sort of implication that the team is trying to rush back their star point guard.
“The thing that is most important to us is the long term health of our organization and the long term health of Derrick,” Paxson said. “We can’t, nor would we ever, go to him and say ‘Hey, we need you to play’. You can’t do that to an athlete. I wouldn’t want someone coming to me and saying ‘Hey, you must play’ because no matter what you say, only the player knows his body.”
Paxson also noted the organization has trusted Rose throughout his entire rehabilitation process and will continue to do so until he’s ready to return.
“We’ve been through enough battles with Derrick on the floor and watching him play that we have to trust him,” Paxson said. “And we do trust him. And our players do. You’ve not heard one negative thing come from our players and our organization because we understand the young man and we’re not going to.”
After winning Game 7 on the road against Brooklyn, the Bulls marched into Miami and took down the kings of South Beach in the Eastern Conference semifinals opener. Instead of headlines about Rose’s return, Paxson wants the headlines to be about the players battling on the court and their will to win.
“The storyline right now is and should be this group of guys who are out there competing,” Paxson said. “They’ve been terrific. There’ a lot of pride. I’ve heard some things prior to the playoffs beginning and even during the Brooklyn series like ‘Oh just get it over. This year doesn’t mean anything’. But when you’re in the fight and you’re playing and you are a competitive individual, you don’t think that way. Every game is important to you. You want to win. It doesn’t matter who you have or who you don’t have.”