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Rub Some Dirt on It

27 Jan 2012

Hey, someone actually did some reporting on the potential impact of playing hurt instead of just bloviating about Tom Thibodeau running Derrick Rose and Luol Deng into the ground.

David Haugh:

Unintentionally, Thibodeau leaves the impression Rose’s playing depends on how much agony he can endure. In fact, the Bulls don’t have a player who takes more punishment and the sit-or-start decision represents a collaborative process more than Thibodeau’s words imply.

What Thibodeau really strives to make clear, I suspect after speaking to two of Chicago’s most respected sports physicians, is Rose can play without causing any more structural damage provided the pain isn’t distracting enough to limit his game. …

“Most injuries fortunately are not made worse with continued play,” [Bulls team physician Brian] Cole said. “The bottom line is, unbeknownst to a lot of people, having discomfort is not always synonymous with causing more injury.”

I cringe with everyone else at the idea of Derrick Rose being less than his best for the playoffs, but:

a) players get better by playing, and a group gets better by playing together; they can’t just show up for the playoffs

b) we on the outside (fans and media) have no real idea how often and to what extent athletes play in pain all the time; it’s almost certainly more often than we usually assume, and just part of the game

c) the key factor, assuming the injury won’t get worse, is to what degree the injury impairs him and at what point he is so impaired that you might as well turn to a healthy backup — and we’re not near that point yet.

Play on, brave warriors!

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