Phil to Rose critics: Leave him alone

Dr. J said Derrick Rose's situation would not have flown in his day, but he understands the deal. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Phil Jackson said Wednesday that critics of Derrick Rose should back off the Chicago Bulls star, who missed the entire 2012-13 season after undergoing ACL surgery on May 12, 2012.

"Leave him alone," Jackson said on "Mike & Mike in the Morning" on ESPN Radio. "This is a guy who hopefully ... still has another 10 years to play. Let's not put him in under duress that may not be the right time.

"He needs to have a training camp and go through the process of gearing up for another season the right way."

Rose came under increasing criticism as the season wore on, and reports that he was cleared to play in March and dominated in practice were framed in the context of his teammates battling through injuries to lead the Bulls to the second round of the playoffs. Rose kept the door open to the possibility of a return throughout the season and postseason.

Rose's teammates and Bulls management unanimously defended Rose's decision to sit, while former NBA players such as Steve Kerr and Charles Barkley said that if Rose could participate in full-contact practices for two months, he should play. Other athletes who have torn an ACL but didn't sit out an entire season were cited as examples, including the Knicks' Iman Shumpert and NFL running back Adrian Peterson. Shumpert suffered his injury the same day as Rose and returned to game action in January.

"I think Shumpert had the injury almost at the same time and almost the same injury, but it's a totally different person," Jackson said. "Shumpert has been in and out of the lineup and he had some situations with it. But he's also a guy that's not the franchise guy.

"I know that ownership in Chicago must have been like, 'We'd love him to play, but if he doesn't, that's OK, because we have somebody who's a prime mover for the next 10 years or so.'"

Julius Erving said Monday on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia that Rose's situation would not have "flown" during his playing days, but he understands the magnitude of the decision facing Rose and the Bulls.

"It would not have flown in our day, but this is a different age," Erving said. "The investment in him, the investment adidas has in him ... I think they played around a little bit with warming up before games, practices and stuff like that, and kind of teased the public. But I think all along they knew he was not going to play this year, in the playoffs or the regular season.

"And with that kind of injury, and his value, I mean this is the only guy who won MVP other than LeBron James the last five years, so who he is had as much to do with it as what the circumstances were."