Back in 2011 the future of the Chicago Bulls was looking bright. In a league which practically demands that your team have a bona fide star, the Bulls had finally found their replacement for Michael Jordan. They now had Derrick rose. Now fans are wondering if they will ever have the real Derrick Rose back on the court again and if the Bulls are finished without him.
Selected first overall, in a year when they had only had a 1.7 percent chance of being the number one pick, the Bulls saw immediate return on their investment in Rose. During the 2008-09 season Rose was named Rookie of the Year, averaging 19.7 points per game while shooting 47.5 percent from the field.
During the 2009-10 season Rose showed continued improvement as he made his first All Star team. The following year proved to be a break out year for the Bulls and Rose. Rose won the league’s MVP award, becoming the youngest player in league history to do so, and led Chicago to the Eastern Conference Finals where they would lose to Lebron James’ Heat in five games. The future was looking as bright as one of Rose’s electrifying mid-lane floaters, but now Chicago’s hopes of being a contender could be over.
While trying to change direction and get back on defense, following a turnover by Joakim Noah, Rose lost his footing and crumbled to the floor Friday night. He soon got up but could only limp across the floor and appeared to not be able to put any pressure on his right knee. Rose left Chicago’s 98-95 loss to the surging Portland Trail Blazers with what team officials are only calling, as of now, an injury to his right knee.
Rose sustained the injury in the third quarter of the contest and did not return to action. It is tough to say whether it is good news or bad news that Rose injured his right knee and not his left. Rose missed the 2012-13 season because he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the 2012 Playoffs.
If his left knee injury is serious, than Chicago fans are looking at a young star player with serious problems in both knees. That is certainly nothing to feel hopeful about and would prove to be a tragic way to watch the end of the career of one of the more promising young stars. But would it be better if he had reinjured his left knee. It all feels like a bad dream in Chicago right now.
In an age when players are always returning to form ahead of schedule it is not time to lose faith yet Chicago. Still, Rose’s trademark leaping ability is not something that could handle weak knees easily.
But one thing is for certain, the Bulls just are not the same team they can be without Rose in the lineup. The Bulls held a 21 point lead in the first half with Rose going strong. In the third quarter the Bulls were outscored a gaudy 34-9, although they still had a chance to win at the end.
Kurt Hinrich scored twice to give the Bulls a 95-91 lead, but the Trail Blazers scored the game’s last seven points and extended their winning streak to nine games.
The question for Chicago is not who can step up to fill Rose’s shoes if he misses more time. The only question is whether he will miss more time. The Bulls’ do not have another player like him, there are not many like him in the league. Rose has to be healthy or else the Bulls are only a average NBA team and their recent surge in progress would be finished.
By Nick Manai
Pierce County Tribune