Rose, others pave new road to recovery
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Derrick Rose, the Chicago Bulls’ All-Star point guard, had no intention of returning from a torn knee ligament until he was ready, regardless of the timetables offered by doctors, the team or fans.
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who had numerous offseason surgeries on his forearm and another on his back, was cleared to play last week by team doctors but did not take the field — his independent physician did not agree.
University of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has been bothered by injuries and sat out one game, prompting accusations that Clowney, projected as a top draft choice, doesn’t want to risk further injury and jeopardize his NFL career.
Injured players still want to play, but fading fast is the macho, tough-guy mentality that dictates athletes should play through injury whenever possible. With increased attention on player safety and greater access to doctors and medical information — as well as athletes’ awareness of the relatively narrow window for them to earn significant money — the trend is for players to take a longer look at how soon they return.
Former Pro Bowl safety John Lynch, now a Fox Sports NFL analyst, admits he was that tough guy who might do things differently now.
“There is a great amount of money involved,” Lynch told USA TODAY Sports. “My perspective has changed a whole lot. When I was playing and when I was in that world, I was always to a fault — I would come back too soon. Ultimately, people have to clear you but you have some influence on that.”
For others, the old-school mentality persists. Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Michael Young keeps his pains silent and said a big-time salary comes with a responsibility.
“We all understand we’re in a very fortunate situation in this game, being able to make money,” said Young, a 14-year veteran. “But if you do make a lot of money, you owe greater responsibility. You’ve got to be out on the field. Your teammates have to know you’re accountable (and) you’re going to be out there hurt.
“There’s something that comes with that money. If you’re going … [For more on Derrick Rose, Rob Gronkowski, others pave new road to recovery, click here.]