CHICAGO | Cover your children's ears. Don't touch the Derrick Rose poster in their bedroom, though purple bunting taped across it might be appropriate.
Carry on your daily lives as if you don't have a care in the world. Do it for the children who buy his jerseys and athletic shoes.
And if they ask, change the subject quickly, because Derrick Rose isn't coming back from knee surgery, not with four games left in the regular season and the grueling playoffs next.
We smart adults know he can't afford to be embarrassed in the postseason, which he would be.
His hobbling teammates, caught in a revolving door of injuries, continue fighting for a good seed and are now feeling abandoned by The Franchise.
Hey, a little help here, they grumble among themselves as coach Tom Thibodeau is forced to use 14 different starting lineups this season.
Yet, all we hear from Rose is that he's close but not quite ready to play in an actual game, despite team doctors giving him a medical release weeks ago.
Is he afraid to test the knee in real competition? Is he emotionally weak? Is he hoping for a complete recovery by next season? We don't know because all we get are the same, tired replies which amount to the biggest line since wash day.
Derrick Rose no longer is the story. His surviving teammates, often outnumbered, are the real story.
Iman Shumpert of the New York Knicks, Thursday night's opponent, suffered the same knee injury as Rose last April and he's back in action, having started 41 games. That only has Bulls fans wondering more about the toughness of their superstar guard.
Thibodeau, in his pre-game media chat, said that's not fair.
“With that type of injury, everybody's different,” Thibodeau said. “Shumpert's done a great job for them. You can see he's gotten a lot healthier since he first came back and that's good for him.”
The second-year forward reportedly experienced some discomfort when he was given the green light to play. But he's made a smooth transition, averaging 6.2 points and 21 minutes a game while shooting 42 percent beyond the arc.
“Each player's different so it's important to give them the time that they need to get comfortable and get back out on the court,” said Thibodeau, who is sick of this long-running Derrick Rose soap opera but would never admit it publicly.
I approached Shumpert at his locker before the game just to see how the knee has been feeling and had a Knicks PR guy step directly in front of me.
“No pre-game interviews,” he said.
We were informed the Chicago native had a death in the family earlier Thursday and might not be up to speaking afterward either.
The Knicks' stat sheet told me all I needed to know.
In the April 9 win over Washington, Shumpert scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting and was 4-of-6 from the shadows.
I'd say that knee is looking pretty good.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org