To hear the words "Derrick Rose" and "turf toe" in the same sentence is frightening. The injury, which is essentially a sprain at the base of the big toe, can linger for extended periods of time and do the most damage to players who rely on quickness and bursts of speed. Ironically, Carlos Boozer (hardly a bastion of quickness or speed) had a bout with turf toe last season for the Bulls.
Unfortunately for Rose, the 2011-12 NBA season is more of a sprint than a marathon. With teams playing back-to-back-to-back games (as the Bulls are themselves finishing up tonight) and upwards of 4-5 games every week, any injury is tricky to evaluate from a big-picture perspective.
But given the current state of the Bulls, this injury absolutely REQUIRES that the Bulls sit Rose down for at least a few games. Rose has already been declared out tonight by the Bulls for their game against the Wizards.
While it's true that Bulls guards are doing their best imitation of Spinal Tap drummers these days (in addition to Rose, Rip Hamilton and CJ Watson are also out for tonight) and depth in the backcourt is perilously shallow, Coach Tom Thibodeau must look at the next two weeks as a chance to rein in the league's MVP, if for no other reason than to help him rest his sore toe.
The schedule practically invites it: Chicago has eight games over the next two weeks and the first seven are against teams who are at or below .500 entering tonight. Even with a short bench (and with the Bulls, "short" means using eight guys instead of nine or ten), the Bulls should win most of those games. Even if they drop a few winnable games, the health of their best player is at stake.
Not that keeping Rose off the floor will be easy. Following last night's win over Minnesota, he declared that he would be playing tonight. Entering Wednesday's action, he was tied for 2nd in the league in total minutes played after logging the most minutes of any point guard in the league last season.
Most Total Minutes Played, NBA, This Season
Luol Deng, Bulls 423
Kobe Bryant, Lakers 400
Derrick Rose, Bulls 400
Pau Gasol, Lakers 399
Kevin Durant, Thunder 396
There's no "good" or "correct" time to rest your best player so early in an NBA season. But given the structure and timetable of this four-month sprint, clearly the time is now for Derrick Rose to get healthy. Sitting him tonight was a good start. Keeping him off of the court as much as possible over the next two weeks would be even better.
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