Derrick Rose is the Chicago Bulls Gale Sayers
Dec 3, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) sits on the bench during the second half of the game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena. Bulls win 102-95. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Not again! Really?!?! As Patrick Kane’s injury was still sinking in, news broke that Derrick Rose had suffered another knee injury and would have to undergo yet another surgery. We’ve seen this movie before, haven’t we Chicago Bears fans? Derrick Rose is the modern day, Chicago Bulls version of Gale Sayers. There are a lot of similarities between the two Chicago stars.
Gale Sayers burst onto the scene as the #4 pick in the 1965 NFL draft, earning himself a Rookie of the Year award as he scored a record 22 touchdowns and gained over 2200 yards from scrimmage in just 14 games. They didn’t call him the Kansas Comet for nothing. He used his speed and evasiveness to take the NFL by storm. No game was a better example of Sayers’ explosiveness than his 6 TD performance against the San Francisco 49ers in a muddy Wrigley Field.
Sayers continued to build on his stellar rookie season to lead the league in rushing and lead the Bears in catches. He set another record for all-purpose yardage with 2440 yards in his second season.
Nine games into his fourth season, tragedy struck. Sayers shredded his right knee against the San Francisco 49ers. Back then, knee surgery wasn’t what it is today. After months of rehab, Sayers returned for the 1969 season and actually led the league in rushing. But the speed and explosiveness just weren’t there. Sayers wasn’t the same. Sayers suffered an injury to his other knee in 1970 and tried to come back again in 1971, but his return was unsuccessful. His promising career was cut short.
The ping pong balls bounced the Bulls’ way and they were able to select Rose with the #1 overall selection of the 2008 NBA Draft after just a year at Memphis. Rose earned Rookie of the Month awards in November, December and March while helping guide the Bulls to a 41-41 record and a playoff berth. Rose was NBA All-Rookie team while being named the 2008-2009 NBA Rookie of the Year.
Rose went on to earn his first All Star selection in his second season as the Bulls continued to improve. By his third season, Rose raised his game to elite levels. He earned the league MVP for the 2010-2011 season while leading the Bulls to the #1 with the league’s best record. Unfortunately, the Bulls couldn’t get by Lebron James and the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Things were looking up for Rose and the Bulls.
The 2011-2012 season ended horribly for Rose. In the opening round of the playoffs, Rose tore his left ACL in a non-contact injury, ending his season and the next. Rose rehabbed all offseason and into the next season, but despite clearance from doctors, didn’t return to action the next year.
Rose finally returned to action to open the 2013-2014 season. While still shaking off the rust, Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee just a few games into the season. Rose underwent surgery, ending his season.
This season, Rose returned again, but appeared to be tentative. He lacked the explosiveness to attack the basket and play above the rim. There were glimpses of the old Rose, but he just didn’t appear to be the same. Now, with news of the re-injuring of his right knee again, it appears Rose’s career could be headed down the same path as Sayers’. Another promising career derailed by injuries.