In an instant, the Bulls lopsided win over Philadelphia in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals was rendered totally meaningless. The MVP was down on the court, writhing in pain, and a packed house at the United Center suddenly became totally silent, knowing the teams championship hopes could be over.
Derrick Rose went to a local hospital to get an MRI done on his left knee, and if the results turn out to be as bad as feared, his season will be done. Reaction from his teammates in the locker room suggest they know theyll have to soldier on without their best player and team leader. Rose had shown signs of returning to top form in Game 1, putting up 23 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists against an overmatched Sixers squad. But now, the Bulls cant bank on the return of Rose at 100 percent. Theyll have to plan on continuing their playoff run without him.
Sure, the Bulls have depth at the position. C.J. Watson started 25 games in place of Rose during the regular season and is capable of putting up good offensive numbers. And John Lucas and Mike James can provide decent minutes off the bench. But this Bulls team is built around the unique talents of Rose, and its almost impossible to envision them making a title run without him.
Rip Hamilton, Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer will have to pick up their scoring, and the team defense will have to be tighter than ever. The Bulls should be able to get past Philadelphia, and they could possibly win a second round matchup against the Boston-Atlanta winner. But without Rose, there will not be a seventh NBA championship in the city of Chicago.
Lets just hope this is one star-crossed season in what will turn out to be a spectacular career for Derrick Rose. Rose has admitted he needs to work on his flexibility by doing a regular stretching program. Saturdays knee injury wasnt about all that. It was the type of devastating injury we see too often in basketball, and Chicago sports fans can only hope the 23-year-old Rose will be able to provide many more years of high-flying memories once he recovers.