Whenever an injured athlete like Derrick Rose is characterized as day to day, the old joke about a university biology professor's classroom survey comes to mind.
We'll clean it up for a family newspaper.
Professor: "How many of you go out on a date once a week?"
Fifty-eight of the students in the class of 100 raise their hands.
Professor: "How many of you go out on a date once a month?"
Forty-one of the students raise their hands.
Professor: "OK, now, how many of you go out on a date just once a year?"
A young man in the back of the room jumps up with a big smile.
Professor: "Son, why are you so excited about one date a year."
The young man jumps on his desk, raises his arms like "Rocky" and roars: "Tonight's the night!"
Well, Wednesday night wasn't Rose's night any more than the other night in Miami was or a couple nights earlier in Brooklyn was or any night during the regular season was or any night for nearly a year was. He continues to rest his surgically repaired knee.
The Bulls survived without Rose by winning 45 regular-season games, a first-round playoff series over the Nets and Game 1 of the current NBA East semifinal series against the Heat.
Then reality struck deep in Game 2 when the Heat drubbed the Bulls 115-78 in American Airlines Arena to send the series to Chicago tied at 1-1.
The Bulls have homecourt advantage now but looked on this night like they need reinforcements ... including Rose, of course, not to mention Luol Deng (illness) and Kirk Hinrich (injury).
"They're day to day," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "They have to focus on their rehab. We have to concentrate on our jobs."
The swirl of rumors concerning Rose intersects with the Bulls' playoff games. He sits on the bench in street clothes while they engage in the basketball equivalent of a street fight with the Heat.
Maybe Friday in the United Center will be the night Rose is back in uniform. At least that was the chatter all over the Internet throughout Wednesday.
An initial report said that Rose might return for Game 3. Of course, he also might have returned on any game night the past month.
It says here that Rose might return Friday, next Monday, in November ... or he might retire to embark on a second career selling suntan lotion on the beaches of Acapulco.
Derrick Rose Fatigue has set in, yet any unsubstantiated report citing an unnamed source manages to light the fires again.
Bulls fans seem to understand that Rose wouldn't be able to play many minutes or be very effective after such a long layoff. Yet a large segment of them want him back. Meanwhile, other large segments want him to do everything from continue resting to be traded.
Every time the Bulls win a playoff game they gain respect for the way they're persevering and Rose squanders respect for not playing.
Rose can't win at this point: When the Bulls win, they won without him; when they lose, they lost because he wasn't on the court.
Locally, nationally, internationally ... the Derrick Rose issue will remain a hot topic until he jumps onto the court and roars, "Tonight's the night!"
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