"He doesn't need to drop 30 points or dish out 10 assists," asserts blogger Dan Favale, making the argument that it's time for Rose to suit up. "He doesn't even need to attempt a shot. But he does need to be there for his team, the way they have been for him."
Says Favale, "The Bulls don't need Derrick Rose the player—though that sure as hell wouldn't hurt. They need Derrick Rose the symbol."
Actually, they need the player. If and when Rose pulls off his warmup jacket and takes the court and the crowd goes wild—tonight, perhaps?—it won't be symbolism the fans will be screaming for. It'll be points.
I keep thinking of something Vladimir Horowitz once supposedly said about playing the piano: "If I don't practice for a day, I know it. If I don't practice for two days, my wife knows it. If I don't practice for three days, the world knows it."
The bodies of world-class athletes demand constant tuning. The Miami Heat went a week without a game and stunk up the joint the first quarter of game one against the Bulls. Rose hasn't played in a year. If the Bulls could field a full team, maybe the sight of Rose in uniform would give them the little boost they need. But the Bulls need a miracle.
The worst part about waiting for the return of Derrick Rose was letting the idea take root that the return would make all the difference. It must be excruciating to be Rose and know it almost certainly won't.