Scottie Pippen defends Derrick Rose’s decision to sit out all year

Chicago Bulls shooting guard Kirk Hinrich (left) sits next to teammate point guard Derrick Rose (right) during the second half against the Miami Heat in game five of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Miami Heat won 94-91. (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

Chicago Bulls shooting guard Kirk Hinrich (left) sits next to teammate point guard Derrick Rose (right) during the second half against the Miami Heat in game five of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Miami Heat won 94-91. (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

One Chicago superstar came to the defense of another over the weekend when retired Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen spoke on Derrick Rose’s decision to sit out all year.

[Related: Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah tells critics of Derrick Rose to “shut up”]

Rose’s decision and the resulting criticism has been extremely well documented. However, most of the hatred has spewed from the mouths of those in the media.

Members of the Bulls franchise have steadfastly remained at Rose’s side, and now that includes Pippen.

“I was kind of surprised people turned on him knowing the difficulty of Derrick’s injury,” Pippen said at Nike’s basketball pro-am at Whitney Young High School on Saturday, via ESPN. “No one can justify what he’s going through. No one can make his decision as to when to get back on the basketball court. I thought he took a little bit of a hit for it.

“As a player that has played this game, I know at the end of the day I’ve had numerous amount of surgeries, and the doctors released me at numerous amount of times to go and play. But a lot of those times didn’t mean go and play against the best in the world right now, but to get yourself ready to compete again. Sometimes as a player, you’re not there yet. The doctor can tell you the headache is gone, but he don’t totally know that it is gone unless he can get in your head.”

Rose was technically cleared by doctors to play at full speed in mid-February. He himself continually left open the possibility of rejoining the team all the way up to Chicago’s elimination at the hands of Miami in the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Most casual observers believed the team had a legitimate shot at beating the mighty Heat this very year had Rose donned his sneakers and stepped out onto the court. However, it did not happen that way.

Pippen does not see why fans should be reacting negatively to the star of the show. Rose would have been risking his entire future for the sake of gambling at winning a couple of games.

“Fans are demanding,” Pippen said. “They want to win. They want it now. If you have an injury, they want you back the next day. It was a process.

“We were all hoping that things would have worked out, but it didn’t work out that way. But there’s no reason to start to doubt or have any negative activity about Derrick because he was not able to come back this season. I think you just have to look ahead and believe that it was the right decision as a whole, for him, for the organization, and we have to move on.”

Further, one of the greatest to ever play the game does not have any doubt Rose will be returning to his superstar form.

“I don’t have any doubt,” Pippen said. “Derrick is a very determined, hardworking player, so I don’t have any doubt he will be back bigger and better as ever.”

Coach Tom Thibodeau recently told reporters that Rose has been looking like his old, explosive self.

“Watching the way he’s moving now, there’s a confidence,” Thibodeau said. “[Reporters] may not have been able to see the total work he was putting in. But he was putting in an enormous amount of work each and every day. He just never got to the explosiveness he was comfortable with. I think he’s there now. He feels great, and that’s the most important thing.”

For a team that harbors championship aspirations for the 2013-14 season, getting Rose back at full strength is, indeed, the most important thing.

MORE ROSE: Bradley Beal calls Derrick Rose “scared”