As some of you may have heard on the news, Derrick Rose has been seen sprinting at recent Chicago Bulls practices. Rose suffered a torn ACL during last year’s playoff season and after undergoing reconstruction surgery has been on the road to recovery. Since his injury there has been a lot of speculation about his projected return. While most of Rose’s recovery has been kept under wraps, the sight of seeing him sprint and run has instilled a new hope for Chicago Bulls fans that their star may return to the court this season!

To really know where Rose is in his recovery, we asked our senior attending “Knee Expert” Dr. Howard Freedberg about the process of rehabilitating an ACL reconstruction surgery and what it means that Derrick Rose is now running. When asked what an ACL reconstruction entails, Dr. Freedberg said “the ACL reconstruction entails the use of one’s own tissue in the body to be placed at the appropriate locations so we can reconstruct the disrupted anatomy of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. There are several different techniques to perform this procedure. The one used on Derrick Rose was an autogenous patellar tendon graft; that entails taking a piece bone from the knee cap with part of the patellar tendon and a piece of bone off of the leg bone. The other two techniques that are used are using a hamstring graft either as a single bundle or double bundle technique. The patellar tendon graft is also a single bundle technique. Through my association with BioMet Sports Medicine, I have developed a double bundle Anterior Cruciate reconstruction technique that is published and available on Biomet Sports Medicine’s Website. I am presenting studying the procedure and we are finding statistically that the double bundle hamstring technique will more reproduce the normal kinematics of the knee. That is why I use that procedure as I feel it will give better long term results. I find in my practice that has been the best procedure, but make no mistake, all three procedures are excellent procedures and the one done on Derrick Rose is also a very good operation.”

Athletes all recover at different levels based on their ability and level of play. Though a High School football player and a professional athlete may rehabilitate their ACL reconstruction the same, the Physician has the final say in when that athlete may return to their sport based on their playing level and abilities. In Rose’s case, based on his position and the agility and cutting movements necessary for a professional basketball player, his rehabilitation needs to be more intense and very specific; We asked Dr. Freedberg about the rehabilitation process for a professional athlete at Rose’s caliber and he said “Derrick Rose plays in a sport that requires the maximum ability from his knee joint, therefore he would be restrained from playing his sport until the leg reaches near optimal abilities. This is why the rehabilitation for Derrick Rose is at a minimum of 6 months. Many other athletes could be allowed to return to their sports earlier based on the different demand placed on the knee. In professional basketball Derrick needs not only the strength but also the proprioception and function so that he can perform at that level.”

Most importantly, fans want to know what this means for the Chicago Bulls in the remainder of their season. Will Derrick Rose return to the court this season? Is he pushing himself back to soon? Answering these questions Dr. Freedberg says “First of all, let me say that Dr. Cole is an outstanding orthopaedic surgeon therefore I can guarantee that Dr. Cole will not allow Derrick Rose to return to professional basketball until he believes Derrick is capable. That being said, do not expect him to return to his maximum ability this season. My experience is, is that athletes that return to sports in their first year after their surgical procedure will not perform to their maximum ability, they will be much better during their second season. That is why Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings is such a phenom in the medical community of surgeons who perform ACL reconstructive surgeries. He is 6 months post-op and you would never know that he had any injury to his knee based off of his incredible performance. It certainly may take Derrick Rose time before he reaches his maximal ability but don’t lose hope, he could return and impress us all! Although Derrick Rose may be a key player, the Bulls have a strong team, support of the best fans, and show promise to grow in this current season and more to come!”

For more information about Dr. Freedberg, ACL Reconstruction, and Suburban Orthopaedics, check out our website here or call our office at (630)372-1100.