The Chicago Bulls will probably have to deal with the absence of Derrick Rose once again after it was revealed he has torn his meniscus for a second time, which means he’s most likely out for the season even if there is still a small shard of hope that he can return in time for the playoffs.
At this point, nothing is going to be actually surprising. Rose out for the season? We’ve been there, seen that. Back before it’s over? Actually, that’s not such an ‘out there’ theory or probability. Rose was told after the meniscus surguery last year that it might tear up again, only that the second time around it’s more likely to be removed than repaired, which means a much shorter rehab. In any case, we’ll all be smarter after the surgery.
So what do the Bulls do in the meantime? What they’ve always been doing. Shuffling the rotation and moving forward. Rose hasn’t been pedestrian – Rose was playing badly over the last three games, scoring a combined 32 points, but he’s averaging 18.4 points and 5 assists per game this season. Not quite the superstar he was before the injury, struggling with his shot (40.7%) from the field and having a lot of highs & lows, but this was progress, and he was staying healthy (46 games) and not shying away from playing, spending 31 minutes a night on the court.
Aaron Brooks or Kirk Hinrich will play next to Jimmy Butler at the point guard role. Either way, the Bulls lose a significant part of their offense, and once again find themselves quite short at guard heading into the most important stretch of the regular season, fighting to stay in the top 4 of the Eastern conference (currently at third). We’ve seen them deal with Rose’s injuries in the past quite well, but it takes them from championship contenders to a whole different category. Something along the lines of surprising, sympathetic underdogs.
And there’s Rose himself, with him and the Bulls probably deciding to repair the torn meniscus which most likely is better in the long term of his career but also takes him out for the season for a third straight year. It’s hard to imagine what he’s feeling, as the culmination of rehabbing gets eliminated in the blink of an eye and takes him back to step one. It’s hard to imagine what they’re feeling in the Bulls’ front office, as their franchise player goes down again, and the hopes of building a championship team around him disappear.
It’s always great to be optimistic; it’s probably better. But Rose keeps falling, no matter how hard he tries to get up. We’ve gotten used to the idea that he might not ever be an MVP caliber player again. Just being healthy and a very good point guard most of the time is enough. But the sad truth is even that might be overreaching for an extremely talented player and very likable guy that just can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to lasting a season without getting seriously hurt.