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Can’t compare Derrick Rose’s ACL injury with anyone else’s

Should Derrick Rose return right now?




ACL INJURIES: BEFORE AND AFTER

RICKY RUBIO

Min. PPG FG% Ast.

Before 34.2 10.6 35.7 8.2

After 28.7 8.9 34.2 7.1

IMAN SHUMPERT

Min. PPG FG% Steals

Before 28.9 9.5 40.1 1.7

After 20.1 5.0 30.9 1.0

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Updated: April 13, 2013 6:28AM



Some believe Derrick Rose should return to the Bulls now that he has been cleared medically. There’s a laundry list of obstacles he must overcome before he fully recovers from ACL surgery and returns to form.

Others say, why not begin the process when training camp begins next season so he’s all the way back?

The opposing argument is based on the risk of Rose reinjuring the knee reaching milestones that may be more easily navigated in the more controlled environment of offseason training, training camp and the exhibition season.

That’s the primary topic of debate by the cadre of decision- makers helping Rose decide if/when he returns this season.

It’s all part of the politics of a superstar’s rehabilitation.

“I’ve been in situations where an athlete has been a significant part of an organization, has been injured, and then late in a season, they have been medically ready, performance-ready, but the dynamic of team and schedule becomes part of the conversation,” said trainer Ralph Reiff, who has worked with NBA and NFL players as well as Olympians. “Is it appropriate to bring the athlete into the mix now?

“The other side is, ‘Is there value in putting the athlete in game situations on a limited-time basis?’

‘‘Whether it’s the front office or coaches or those within Derrick’s inner circle, those types of checklists are being discussed.”

No way to compare

Surgical advancements and cutting-edge rehabilitation techniques have reduced recovery time, but experts say there’s no way to predict what can be expected of Rose when he returns.

Ricky Rubio tore his ACL in March. He lacked decisiveness and was clearly not the same player when he returned to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Dec. 15.

He flipped the switch in early February and has since looked like the cornerstone he was developing into during his rookie season.

Iman Shumpert tore his ACL the same day as Rose. He returned in mid-January. The New York Knicks’ second-year guard has lacked the explosiveness and lateral quickness that helped him make the All-Rookie first team last season, but he appears to be improving of late.

Reiff and Darin Padua, director of the University of North Carolina’s Sports Medicine Research Laboratory, say what Rubio and Shumpert have endured is not an indication of what Rose will go through for three reasons:

1) Not only is every injury different, but every athlete is different, as evidenced by Adrian Peterson having a career year in 2012 after tearing the ACL, medial collateral ligament and meniscus in his left knee on Dec. 24, 2011.

“If I stand Derrick Rose next to Rubio, I see two different body types,” said Reiff, who is the executive director at St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis. “I see a different type of athlete. I know that plays into recovery from surgery, particularly ACL surgery.”

2) Psychological factors also play a major role in recovery and are impossible to predict.

“It’s huge,” said Padua, who’s also a consultant for the Phoenix Suns. “It’s very different from person to person. People suffer from kinesiophobia, which is a fear of movement. They have an internal fear of doing things they’re used to doing.

‘‘Some people have no problem with the psychological aspect, while others struggle to get over that hurdle.”

3) Because Rose has had more time to recover, he may not struggle as much as Rubio and Shumpert have to regain their old form.

“The further you get away from the surgery date, that predictive analysis becomes less predictable because more factors are unknown,” Reiff said.

Time on his side

The question remains: What can be realistically expected of Rose if/when he returns this season?

Rubio is approaching the one-year anniversary of his ACL tear and is playing as well as he ever has. Shumpert is seven weeks away from his anniversary date and admits he hasn’t fully recovered.

Because Rose has been sitting out longer, he should be able to make a smoother transition, at least in theory, but on Sunday, Rose complained of sore hamstrings.

“Forty-two weeks after surgery, from what we’ve been able to see and what is typical of an elite athlete’s body, you’ll see the same Derrick Rose you’ve always seen if he’s confident and mentally comfortable,” Reiff said.

Of course, it will take time to adjust to the speed and intensity of an NBA game. Getting into game shape also takes time and is another factor contributing to the cycle of recovery.

“If he comes back and is fully in the rotation, he will have a couple of games off-the-charts good, then there’s likely to be a plateau or dip before he gets back into being Derrick Rose,” Reiff said. “Whether it takes six games or 20 games to complete that cycle, I wouldn’t know.”



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