Jonathan Toews (Reuters )
If there's any athlete in Chicago who understands Derrick Rose's situation, it's might be Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.
The 24-year-old center missed the final two months of the 2011-12 regular season with a concussion and spent the final two weeks of it trying to decide when was the best time for a return to game action.
Toews ultimately returned for a first-round playoff series against Phoenix, but not before some frustrating decisions in the final week to remain out of the last few games.
"You're out of your routine for so long, and every day you think it's going to get better and it might be that breakthrough day, and when it's not it's pretty disappointing," Toews said earlier this month when asked about Rose's dilemma. "I can't imagine what a guy like that's going through, especially having that injury happen in the playoffs last year and the couple of seasons he had before that. You always want to follow that up and keep that momentum going, so it's definitely tough for him I'm sure."
Toews said Rose, also 24, probably shouldn't return until he feels it's the right time, whenever that might be.
"I'm sure he knows that once he feels like 'Derrick Rose' again, that's the right time to come back—and to try and be a hero and show up [just] whenever is probably not going to work out in his favor," Toews said. "I'm sure it's a frustrating thing that [he has] to get over."
Patrick Kane, another 24-year-old Chicago star, took it a step further.
"I think he's so young in his career, to mess with an injury like that at this point, I'm sure they feel like they can win a championship, but with him and that injury and the way he plays, personally, I'd just shut him down for the year and get him ready for next season," Kane said.
Either way, count Toews among the long list of Chicagoans looking forward to watching Rose do his thing again—one captain to another. He just doesn't want to see Rose risk his health to do it.
"He's a heck of an athlete," Toews said. "I saw a couple of his interviews [earlier in March] where he said he wasn't jumping as high as he normally could, so that's probably a red flag right there. So, you know that when he does come back, he's going [to make sure he's] that same player again."
Brian Hedger is a RedEye special contributor.
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