The Chicago Bulls are screwed, there’s simply no other word for it.
Word came Tuesday that Derrick Rose would be out between 8-12 months rehabilitating his torn ACL.
“We’re at this point very optimistic. … We think of recovery as the long process that’s in stages. But the short answer is the time frame we believe an athlete of this caliber generally requires is about 8-12 months. Sometimes shorter, sometimes longer.
“While he will be at hopefully a very high level at 12 months, it still may take slightly longer for him to be at his pre-injury level. That’s not uncommon for athletes of this caliber.”
That means Rose is likely to miss at least the first two-plus months of next season, or he could miss the entire season.
“That’s clearly the range of what’s possible,” Cole said.
To call the announcement a bombshell would be an understatement.
Hopes may be high that Rose recovers and returns as good as ever, but lets be honest, this not-so-picture-perfect-story seems poised for an unhappy ending. To believe that Rose will be just as explosive, just as fearless and any form of durable after a year like the one he has had—and the one he is preparing to have—would be naive.
The fact is, the former league MVP missed 27 of 66 regular season games this year, and couldn’t even last through the first game of the postseason. That’s cause for major concern, even if Rose wasn’t dealing with a torn ACL.
At this stage, the only future more in doubt than Rose’s is that of the Bulls. Chicago made a last-ditch effort to establish some continuity to close out the season by picking up head coach Tom Thibodeau’s option for next season, but even the stability a former coach of the year provides isn’t enough to calm these waters.
The fact is that the Bulls went down to the eighth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers without Rose. Joakim Noah and Luol Deng had their own problems, but that truly doesn’t matter. Even if Chicago had managed to escape the first round, the Celtics and then, quite possibly, the Heat, awaited after that.
The Bulls are not a legitimate championship contender without Rose. C.J. Watson and John Lucas helped propel Chicago to an 18-9 regular season record without the point guard, but they lack experience and disappeared at the most important time of the year—the playoffs.
As if that weren’t enough, the Bulls have little to no cap room to work with this summer. They might be able to bring in a solid backup who could masquerade as a starter, but they don’t have the cash necessary to make that star acquisition.
But that’s okay, right? It’s only, at most, one year. Rose will be good to go after that. Or will he?
Rose is only 23, but there’s not guarantee he returns to his former self after this. He may return too afraid to attack the basket or this may be the beginning of a career marred, borderline ruined, by injuries.
Yes, the Bulls are certainly screwed, for at least a year, but perhaps longer.
And that’s what is truly unsettling, what’s truly pushing the knife deeper and deeper—the fact that Rose, and even the Bulls, may never recover from this.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His basketball musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.