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Bulls Wed Feb 25 2015

Derrick Rose Injured: What That Means for Him & the Bulls

BullsYesterday was a tough day for Chicagoans. In the bitter cold of night, Chicago watched Twitter explode with Patrick Kane getting injured in Tuesday's game against the Florida Panthers and, to the shock of the entire sports world, Derrick Rose's reported knee pain turning out to be another tear in his medial meniscus in his right knee. The 26-year-old point guard is said to be out indefinitely, and considering this is the same knee that he tore his meniscus in last season and kept him to 10 games, questions about his future as a player is coming in to question just as the future of the Bulls is. So... "What do the Bulls do now?"

Rose's injury problems aren't exactly hidden. The former MVP hasn't played a full season since 2011. One of the inconvenient things about this on the Bulls' end is that the trade deadline has passed, so if they wanted to make a trade for a high caliber player to fill his spot, that ship has sailed. There are rumblings that old 2012-2013 Rose replacement, Nate Robinson, has shown interest to help provide a bit more relief for the current guards.

The team also will have to look for someone to step up or improve even more, and that seems to be Jimmy Butler. In the 11 games that Derrick Rose missed this season, Jimmy Butler has averaged 22.7 points per game -- slightly higher than his season average of 20.3. On the other hand, Kirk Hinrich is having a career low year with 6.6 points per game and .369 field goal percentage. Even though he isn't starting nearly as often as he has in the past, his ability to step up will probably help make or break the Bulls' season this year. The options are limited at this point in the season with the playoffs creeping ahead; you either sign a free agent or you play on.

The playoff stampede for the Bulls also looks remarkably shorter without their star point guard, who has put in 18.4 points per game and is always someone to worry about because of his dynamic athletic ability. What was once a team looking to challenge for the championship now gives off the impression of a team looking to win a series or two. Of course the Bulls have played relatively well without Rose, but they have only gotten to the conference finals one time since the 1998, and that was the Rose MVP season of 2010-2011. It's tough to gauge his exact impact in the playoffs, but in those playoffs he averaged 24.1 points and 7.7 assists per game, which showed the continuation of his MVP ability into the playoffs. His impact is also clear in the organization, and the reality is that the Bulls now have a tougher time fulfilling the goal of being a championship contender, and even though the weakness of the conference works in their favor for the first round, that will only get them so far.

In terms of Rose's future, the amount of bleakness really depends on his timeframe of being out. reported that Rose opted to fix the entire meniscus instead of just cutting out the damaged part, which is a long term move rather than short term. That unfortunately means Rose will miss the rest of the season. With this being one of his many severe knee problems, a serious consideration has to be should he continue to play?

Russell Westbrook also had a meniscus problem in the past, but that was a problem with one knee, not two. Remember that Rose also tore his left ACL in the 2011-2012 playoffs, which forced him to miss the entire 2012-2013 season. If there's one thing in basketball that isn't going to get any better the longer you play, it's your knees -- and your mental state about your knees.

For Derrick Rose, he's getting to end-of-the-road levels of injuries. Should he try to continue to play? Is it fair for the Bulls to take up so much of their cap space with $18.9 million this year and $20 million next year for someone who is only getting increasingly fragile? Rose and the Bulls will have a lot of thinking to do this summer, especially considering Jimmy Butler's value is bound to increase to max contract levels. The Bulls, famous for not wanting to go over the luxury tax, would be trying to fit two Ferraris into a one-car garage.

The future remains unclear in both the short term and long. The famous hashtag #TheReturn seems more haunting as Chicago continues to wait for its prodigy to come back yet again. However, as Derrick Rose's time continues to dwindle in the NBA, Chicago's dream of his return to MVP-caliber form begins to turn more into just hoping he comes back at all.

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Josh / February 27, 2015 9:42 AM

It's a huge bummer, but I don't think it does much to the Bulls (low) shot at contending. Frankly Aaron Brooks has been quietly outplaying Rose all season. There is a real chance that the team will get better with Rose out of the line-up, if only because we will not be wasting 8-10 offensive possessions per game on terrible outside shots from Rose. Now the offense will run through Butler and Gasol. Having Hinrich as the 2nd team PG will be alittle rough, but he can handle 15 minutes a night.

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