Bryan Altman, CBS Local Sports
I’m not sure how many mirrors he’s broken or how many black cats have crossed his path but Derrick Rose is quite unlucky when it comes to injuries. It feels like we have the same discussion around this time every year when it comes to the Chicago’s star point guard: Have we seen the best of Derrick Rose? Will he make it back from this one?
Those answers are all unknowns as of now but if there’s one thing we can be sure of it’s that players recover from injuries that would have been death-sentences years ago – so there’s certainly hope. We’ve seen athletes do it in the past and here are some recent ones that D Rose can look to for inspiration.
1. Shaun Livingston
If you’re looking for someone who made it back on the basketball court after a horrendous injury look no further than Shaun Livingston. Livingston suffered one of the worst basketball injuries of all time in 2007 when his left knee cap dislocated, which as a result caused him to break or tear essentially every part of his knee including his ACL, PCL, Lateral Meniscus and badly spraining his MCL.
Still, Livingston came back and while he was never a Rose-caliber superstar he has had a steady NBA career and has put up similar numbers after his return from that devastating injury.
2. Willis McGahee
There’s not a single person who was watching that 2003 National Championship game who doesn’t remember McGahee’s gruesome injury. McGahee’s knee bent nearly 45 degrees in the wrong direction and we would later learn that he tore his ACL, MCL and PCL – basically everything you can tear in your knee.
But McGahee persevered and had a great NFL career for a running back by any standard. He rushed for over 1,000 yards four times and was named to the Pro Bowl twice.
3. Adrian Peterson
Putting aside his unforgivable off-the-field actions this past season, Adrian Peterson’s comeback story was pretty remarkable. In 2011 the superstar running back suffered a torn ACL and MCL on a low hit from a defender and as a result missed the remaining four games of the year.
Peterson came back as if nothing had happened the following year and rushed for 2,105 yards, good for second in NFL history for rushing yards in a season en route to an MVP award and a Comeback Player of the Year award to go along with it.
4. Rob Gronkowski
Gronk fever has taken over lately and it’s been great to see considering the adversity that he faced the last few years. 2012 was chock-full of surgeries for Gronkowski, who had surgery on his arm at the beginning of 2012 after the Super Bowl and at the end of it on the same arm, which caused him to miss the remainder of the regular season.
After making a successful return in 2013, Gronkowski tore his MCL and his ACL on a low hit by Browns safety T.J. Ward and missed the remainder of the season. That on top of the fact that Gronk had back surgery in 2009 at the end of his college career marks four major surgeries for the all-pro tight end before the age of 25 – similar to Rose’s situation. Still, Gronk is on top of the world now and on top of his game as well even after all of his injury issues.
5. Ryan Broyles
At the end of his college career at Oklahoma in 2011 Broyles suffered a torn ACL that caused him to miss the remainder of his final college season. After being drafted by the Lions in the second round Broyles got off to a solid start for the team in 2012 but his season was cut short again as he tore his ACL for a second time.
After fighting his way back for the 2013 season, that too ended unceremoniously as he ruptured his Achilles and missed the 2013 season. The 2014 season was a slow one for Broyles as he languished on the bench for most of it due to his injuries but he will have a change to earn a starting spot this offseason and claims that he’s as healthy as he’s been in a long time.
While Rose’s history of knee injuries doesn’t bode well for a basketball player – especially one of Rose’s ilk that relies on speed and agility on the court – he’s in good company when it comes to getting back to work after devastating injuries. With modern medicine and determination, hopefully we’ll see Rose back on the court and better than ever sooner rather than later.