When Derrick Rose injured his right knee in Portland on Friday night, the collective gasp of Chicago Bulls fans could be heard around the country. The MRI he receives on Saturday and the results following could be huge in determining the playoff path for many teams in the Eastern Conference, especially the Miami Heat.
Although the Bulls are in fourth place in the East currently with a record of 6-5, if Rose was able to stay healthy throughout the majority of the season, they would eventually overtake the Atlanta Hawks for the third seed, and would most likely end up behind both the Indiana Pacers (who most likely get the No. 1 seed) and the Heat in the final regular season standings. If this playoff seeding was to occur, with the Pacers claiming the No. 1 seed, the Heat second, and the Bulls third, the Heat would most likely end up playing the Bulls in the second round.
Unlike last year’s playoffs, having a healthy Rose would make this heavy weight bout a lot more competitive, and force the Heat to exert more energy over the course of a longer series. The Heat would most likely prevail, ultimately leading them to the Eastern Conference Finals where they would likely see a very hungry and ready Pacers squad. The Pacers are the one team in the entire league that has a very real chance of beating Miami this season and ending their hopes of a dynasty defining three-peat. The Heat will need every ounce of energy and drive to make it back to the Finals for a fourth consecutive time, and the only way that is going to happen is by beating a very determined and very deep Pacers team.
This new injury to Rose is unfortunate, and especially unfair. After being out for over a year and half, Rose has barely played through an eighth of the regular season, and is already facing extreme adversity in the form of sustained health. As an NBA fan, you have to be upset at the prospect of losing out on watching one of the top five players in the league for the rest of the season. As a Heat fan though, this injury could not only shake up the playoff outlook in favor of the defending champs, but it could ultimately be what defines their success or failure for a third straight title.