Solano: Rose, reform and recovery

Nov. 3, 2017, 6:08 a.m.

It’s April 28, 2012. The Chicago Bulls are leading the Philadelphia 76ers 99-87 with 1:25 left in the fourth quarter. 2011 NBA MVP Derrick Rose goes up for a layup, but by the time he hits the ground, his career has already changed forever. Rose tore his left ACL, forcing him to miss 99 games.

It’s two weeks into the 2017-2018 NBA season and at least two key basketball stars look ahead to months of recovery after suffering season-ending injuries. The Boston Celtics’ All-Star forward, Gordon Hayward, dislocated his ankle and fractured his tibia, ruling out his return to a Celtics team competing for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Hayward suffered this injury only six minutes into the first game of the 2017-2018 NBA season. The Brooklyn Nets star guard Jeremy Lin suffered a knee injury during the Nets’ season opener the following day. Basketball fans from both teams expressed hope for a speedy recovery for both stars.

While these injuries may be the first that come to the minds of NBA fans, there are also players with smaller injuries that could have a large impact on their teams. For example, the Houston Rockets’ Chris Paul will be sidelined indefinitely after suffering a knee injury during the team’s first game of the season. Losing the newly added All-Star will force the Rockets to adjust their plans, giving fellow Rockets guard James Harden a larger burden. Other current injuries include Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard’s with a quadriceps injury, the 76ers’ Markelle Fultz’s shoulder problems and Cavaliers’ Isaiah Thomas’s hip.

While a speedy recovery might put the stars back on the court, players, coaches and fans all worry about players’ performances post-injury. In the case of Derrick Rose, fans cannot help but reminisce over his explosiveness and leadership before his career-changing injury. The youngest NBA MVP in history, Rose signed a $2.1 million veteran’s minimum contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer. Comparing his current worth to the Chicago Bulls during his MVP season and performance post-injury only hurts Roses’ fans.

On the other hand, the Oklahoma City Thunder star forward Paul George suffered a gruesome, stomach-churning injury during a Team USA scrimmage game in 2014. George fractured his tibia and fibula in a moment that NBA players, fans and coaches remember in horror after he landed awkwardly. George had his best season before his injury in the 2013-2014 season averaging 21.7 points, 3.5 assists and 6.8 rebounds. Remarkably, George return from his possibly life-altering injury for the final six games of the Indiana Pacers’ 2014-2015 season. During George’s next full season (2015-2016), George averaged 23.1 points, 4.1 assists and 7 rebounds. Despite the stall in his career, George bounced back from his injury and was able to increase his stats on both sides of the court.

Unfortunately, not every injured player can bounce back from his injury as miraculously as Paul George did. While playing stars consistently is important for teams, coaches should bench players more frequently when rest is due, illness is present or sleep deprivation occurs. WHOOP — a health wristband company — conducted a study that found that athletes that sleep longer report 60 percent fewer injuries and 54 percent less sickness. Besides managing sleep more, teams should also prepare in advance for resting in between back-to-back games when players travel through time zones. The Timberwolves decided to bench All-Star forward Jimmy Butler when he faced illness. Allowing him to rest for a couple of games allowed him to recover, decreasing his chances of an injury.

While teams may be more likely to lose games when not playing their stars, it prevents injuries which could sideline them for weeks if not months. The NBA has made attempts to spread out games in an effort to address these issues, but more must be done in order to protect the health of players. The NBA could decrease the number of games per season, decrease the offseason or improve travel schedule strategies.

Injuries negatively impacted the lives and performances of Derrick Rose and other NBA stars, and rest can decrease the likelihood of these tragedies. Had the Bulls decided to rest Rose during the final 1:25 of the game on April 28, 2012 when they had the lead, perhaps we would have seen more of Rose’s elite campaign, more Bulls’ championship runs and even more jaw-dropping highlights from the youngest MVP in NBA history.


Contact Andrew Solano at aesolano ‘at’ .

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deadline EXTENDED TO april 28!