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NOT A Repeat: Derrick Rose Suffers Knee Injury, Surgery Scheduled

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Feb 25, 2015 3:00PM

Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
For Bulls fans, it looks like our worst fears came true with Derrick Rose suffering yet another serious knee injury.

Rose complained of soreness in his knee during practice on Tuesday and an MRI uncovered a new tear of the medial meniscus in Rose's right knee— the same one he tore 10 games into the 2013-14 season. The injury will require a third surgery for the Bulls point guard and, as with his two other knee injuries could very likely cost Rose the rest of this season.

After spending nearly two years rehabbing from his prior knee surgeries, Rose was starting to look more like his old self of late. The former MVP was averaging 18.4 points and five assists this season and played in 30 of the Bulls' last 31 games after missing a number of games early in the season due to various minor maladies. As Rose's play improved, he began to show more of the aggressiveness and athleticism that defined his pre-injury career.

For a Bulls team that had expected to make a deep playoff run and contend for the Eastern Conference title, this news has potentially devastating impact. The Bulls currently lead the Central Division with a 36-21 record and would be the Eastern Conference's third seed if the playoffs started today. The Bulls will now have to look to Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Brooks to run the point for the stretch run. Can they still compete for a title without Rose? Stephen A. Smith was quick to write them off. Without Rose, they might win a series, but they're no longer in the title talk.

There is a chance, however, that Rose could opt for meniscus removal this time, which might have him back on the court in time for the postseason. Secondary tears are not uncommon and the surgery to remove torn tissue require recoveries measured in weeks, not months. If that's the case, such a return could save the Bulls' season and Rose's career. In the past, he took the conservative course that placed his long term health ahead of winning now.

The specter of another long rehab before returning to the court means Rose may face a very different career path when he does return, both physically and in regards to his role with the Bulls. Other members of the team have put the team first and played through pain in hopes of winning a title. Joakim Noah did so last season, opting to hold off on surgery until after the playoffs. Taj Gibson disclosed recently that he's been playing with a torn ligament in his hand. If those guys sacrifice their bodies for the team, why can't Rose? And if he doesn't, how does that affect the team's chemistry, especially when he is owed $41 million over the next two seasons?

Surely we will learn more about the extent of Rose's injury in coming days and what the timeline is for his return. The Bulls title hopes depend on his return this year. And if he does not, then the Bulls need to head into the offseason with a plan to fortify the point guard position well beyond the likes of Hinrich, Brooks ... and Rose.