Chicago's Fred Tedeschi was named the NBA Athletic Trainer of the Year, as voted on by his colleagues in the NBATA. And why not? He had Derrick Rose cleared to play well before the start of the postseason.
Derrick Rose went down with a torn ACL in the first round of last year's playoffs. After surgery in mid-may, Tedeschi and the Bulls staff held a press conference to put a time frame on Rose's return. They said he ought to be back in 8-12 months.
Tedeschi talked of running a straight line and spot shooting at the three- or four-month mark. Then comes "basketball-specific activity" with no cutting.
"From there, as the body tolerates it, you'll progress to cutting," Tedeschi said. "Some of the things you've seen Derrick do over and over again, he'll have to re-learn. That's all in that span of four to six months. As he can tolerate it, we'll keep advancing until the point where you start looking at what I refer to as predictable contact. You know where it's coming from.
"Then you take the final step, which is to practice. And you see how that's tolerated and then progress to game activities."
Despite fears that his ACL injury could have kept him out all year, Rose remained on the Bulls' initial timetable. He was practicing by January. By March, just 10 months after his surgery, the Bulls cleared him to play. "He's been cleared to do everything that there is," Tom Thibodeau said. Getting a superstar able to return the court—that's the stuff trainers of the year are made of.
(Congrats to Tedeschi. The Bulls' myriad injury issues are mostly Thibodeau's fault. If Rose had come back, Thibs would have played him 43 minutes a game.)