John Wall backs Derrick Rose
WASHINGTON -- Washington Wizards guard John Wall, who missed more than two months with a knee injury, believes Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose would be better off sitting out the rest of the season as he recovers from May 12 ACL surgery.
"I think the organization and the team understands how hard [Rose plays] and what he does for the city and the team, how hard he works and what he wants to bring back to that city," said Wall, whose Wizards defeated the Bulls 90-86 Tuesday night. "So I think [based off] what he has already done, they would understand if he didn't come back.
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"I feel like [if] I were in the situation I wouldn't really [come back this year] because you don't have enough time to get into a rhythm. Then you get to the playoffs, D-Rose wouldn't be good for that team just playing 20 minutes a game. They're already a good team and good defensively, but to be even better he would have to play more minutes."
Rose told ESPN's Chris Broussard last week that he wouldn't rule out making his season debut in the playoffs rather than getting up to speed with a few regular-season games.
Wall, who went through rehab to fix a stress injury that could turn into a stress fracture in his left kneecap, said he has just recently found his rhythm since returning Jan. 12. Not coincidentally, he is playing the best basketball of his career, averaging 17.3 points, 7.7 assists and 3.8 rebounds a game. He averaged a season-best 22.7 points a game in March.
"It took me until March to really find my rhythm of getting into game shape," Wall said. "It took so long because the first month, month and a half I was playing 20 minutes. You play five minutes a quarter, you can't really find yourself, so it's very tough. But when you get to start starting and playing more minutes you start to find yourself again, so it was pretty tough at the beginning."
Rose, who has been cleared medically to play for a while but is working to regain his confidence in his left leg, is considered day to day by the Bulls. He has been traveling with the team since January and went through a shootaround Tuesday, but coach Tom Thibodeau said Rose's status has not changed.
"To me, it's whenever he's ready he's coming back," Thibodeau said. "Whether it's tomorrow or the next day, five game from now, 10 games from now, the playoffs, next year, it doesn't matter. When he's ready he comes back."
Wall, who like Rose played under John Calipari in college (Wall at Kentucky, Rose at Memphis), believes Rose is the only one who should make the decision about his return.
"I think he's doing it the best way you should," Wall said. "Take your time and feel like you're fully healthy. That's the one thing, with him coming back, he's kind of the same way I am -- you want to give 110 percent. You know no other way but to play hard. With that type of injury you've got to take your time and make sure you feel comfortable with it.
"You don't want to come back and try to go score 30 or 40 and you don't have that same kind of confidence and putting more pressure on yourself. I feel like he's doing the right thing and when the time is right he's going to come back."
While everyone seems to have an opinion about Rose's return, Thibodeau said he isn't concerned Rose may start listening to all the people talking about his future.
"Nope. I get concerned about you guys (the media)," Thibodeau laughed. "Derrick, I'm not concerned about. I think he's approached this great. He's not going to be swayed by anything other than being ready. And that's the most important part and we all have to trust him. Everyone has to be patient, let him work through it."