The Bulls‘ hopes about contending for a championship this season took a serious hit. Their long-term plans appear to be up in the air, too.
The team said Rose will miss the remainder of the season after having surgery Monday morning in Chicago to repair a torn medial meniscus in his right knee. For the Bulls and their point guard, it’s an all-too-familiar spot.
“I felt for him. He is a great person, first and foremost,” coach Tom Thibodeau said before Chicago played at Utah.
Rose was injured Friday night at Portland, a huge setback for him and the organization.
The 2011 NBA MVP missed all of last season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Chicago’s 2012 playoff opener against Philadelphia.
He has played in just 50 NBA games _ 49 in the regular season and that lone playoff game _ since the Bulls‘ run to the Eastern Conference finals during his MVP season.
The latest injury occurred in the third quarter against the Trail Blazers.
He lost his footing while trying to change direction to get back on defense when Nicolas Batum stole a pass from Joakim Noah and started the other way. Rose limped across the court and couldn’t put any weight on his knee. After the Blazers scored, he came out of the game during a timeout.
It didn’t appear there was any contact on the play. Rose was unable to return and was on crutches afterward.
With Rose back, the Bulls were expected to challenge LeBron James and the Miami Heat for supremacy in the Eastern Conference and contend for their first championship since the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen era.
Instead, they’re in a familiar spot _ trying to get by without their cornerstone player.
Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement he was “heartbroken” when he heard about Rose’s injury.
“Everyone at the Bulls knows firsthand how extremely hard Derrick worked to return to the court this year, and I have no doubt he will do the same with regards to his recovery from this injury,” Reinsdorf added. “Despite Derrick’s absence, this is still a good team. I know from last year, this team and coaching staff will continue to make our fans proud.”
He added that doctors expect Rose to make a full recovery. But the latest injury raises big questions about whether they should continue to build around him as their cornerstone player and how this will impact the rest of the roster.