Best Case Scenario, the Derrick Rose Injury Still Cripples the Chicago Bulls

By Ryan Wooden

Thank goodness my Twitter feed is full of amateur diagnosticians. So far, we’ve officially ruled out non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and sarcoidosis (I watch a lot of “House”) as the result of Derrick Rose’s tweaked left knee, an injury suffered in Saturday’s Game 1 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Unfortunately, that’s about all we’ve ruled out. Now we’ve taken to over-analyzing each frame of the late-fourth quarter drive where the injury took place. We’re obsessed with the direction and force with which his knee buckled before he hobbled toward the baseline and onto the floor.

Newsflash: It doesn’t matter.

Any Derrick Rose injury is absolutely crippling to the Chicago Bulls.

This obviously applies to any serious ligament damage, whether that be ACL, MCL, PCL, or any other “BS”L that you feel like shouting from the rooftops. We get it, you watch no fewer than four hospital-related shows on television and you’re now medically qualified. However, it also applies to any non-serious injury, as well.

Anything at all that hampers an already hampered Derrick Rose, is catastrophically detrimental to the Chicago Bulls’ chances of winning an NBA title.

They were 18-9 without Derrick Rose. That’s fantastic, in the “you were good enough to beat up on the Clevelands and Charlottes of the world” type of way. This is playoff basketball.

The Chicago Bulls will probably skate past Philadelphia with Derrick Rose in one of the form-fitting luxury suits that $200 million endorsement deals buy. Then what?

The best possible case scenario is that Derrick Rose has a minor sprain of his left knee. He’d inevitably be seated for the entire first round, and he’d be touch and go at best in the second round, but even in an accelerated return, it’s unlikely that Derrick Rose is truly at full strength if and when the Bulls reach the conference finals.

Not when you consider that, at that point, he’ll be feeling the effects of a turned ankle, a damaged toe, a fidgety back, and a — hopefully — minor sprain of the knee. How can he possibly be effective against the Miami Heat under those circumstances? With that kind of pain?

Derrick Rose is a fierce competitor — one that is willing to play through an assortment of agony — and he’ll undoubtedly make every effort to play and will his team to victory. He might even succeed on occasion, but if a healthy Derrick Rose coming off an MVP season couldn’t handle the Heat, it’d be difficult to imagine that he’d be able to handle them at 75, or at best 85, percent.

It’s a shame too, because Gar Forman, John Paxson, and Tom Thibodeau have built a team that is well-equipped to give the Heat trouble. They have far superior depth, and Rip Hamilton has found a bit of a rhythm as a secondary scorer. An injured Luol Deng has played valiantly and has bordered on stardom at times during Rose’s various absences.

But, without Rose, that all goes out the window. Even with Rose — the whip-lashed, bad back, twisted ankle, turf toe, inflamed knee version — it still goes out the window.

I hope that Rose’s injury isn’t serious, because serious ligament damage would require recovery that lasted into next season and could seriously diminish the explosiveness that has made him an elite player in this league, possibly altering a career path that seemed to be unalterable. However, serious or not, the 2011-12 Chicago Bulls are done.

Based on the last few months, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a Derrick Rose injury was what killed them.

A Chicago native, Ryan Wooden covers golf and SEC football for You can follow him on Twitter @ryan_wooden and like him on facebook at Ryan Wooden- Rant Sports.

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