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Rose not returning for Heat game. Fine. But it’s time for him to make a call.

Mar 27, 2013, 12:56 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose takes a break on the bench during the warm up before the team's NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers in Chicago Reuters

It shouldn’t be a surprise after he missed the first 69 games this season, but because it would have been a dramatic return some people were holding out hope:

Derrick Rose will not play against the Miami Heat Wednesday.

Rose confirmed that speaking with the media after shootaround.

Rose hasn’t played all season and to expect him to come back for this game — especially just because the Heat are on a winning streak — defeats the very idea of him getting fully healthy before returning to the court. While he has been cleared by doctors obviously Rose isn’t comfortable on his leg yet, he said he’s had pain, and he isn’t confident as he feels he needs to be with it. It’s his body, his career and he gets to make the call.

For Bulls fans the bottom line remains he is a 24-year-old MVP — if he misses the entire season after an ACL injury, that’s fine. It’s not about the next five games, it’s about the next five years. And beyond.

But right now Rose is losing the PR battle over this return.

The will he/won’t he speculation consumes Chicago — and at times national — media. We give updates like this one, that he will not be back for this game when he has missed 69 before it.

Rose has to make a call soon — are you in or out this season? For the sake of the team and its mindset as it gets ready for the playoffs. For the sake of his own image, which is becoming tarnished with a “he won’t play through it” label (which isn’t fair considering he played through toe and other injuries before). Rose is in a PR battle he can’t win in the short term (he’s fine long term).

Get in or get out. Either decision is acceptable, but make one. Because he “well, I’m close, I’m practicing but not today” thing has worn everybody thin and it’s time to move on for the good of the organization.

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