Bulls fans held their collective breath in the waning minutes of Saturday's Game 1 win over Philadelphia when Derrick Rose landed awkwardly on his knee and required immediate attention from team trainers.
Rose sustained the injury with just 1:10 left in regulation, when he appeared to be going up for a jump shot and came down awkwardly on his leg before dishing to Carlos Boozer. After the pass, he collapsed to the floor and was writhing in pain as he clutched his knee. He was taken to the training room by trainer Fred Tedeschi and assistant trainer Jeff Tanaka, according to Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Rose's injury is a dramatic blow for a Bulls team that will depend on the reigning league MVP to carry out their mission of winning an NBA title. Though Rose sat out chunks of the second half of the season due to ankle and groin injuries, the team still managed to hold on to its top seed thanks to a deep bench and key performances from backups like Kyle Korver.
But they won't be able to win a title without Rose, who has played in only five games in the least six weeks.
Prior to his injury, Rose tallied 23 points, nine assists and nine rebounds in Chicago's 103-91 win at the United Center.
Though there's no immediate news on Rose's prognosis, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau told USA Today's Mike Dodd that his star will be examined before any news is released.
Responding to questions about why Rose was still in the game despite the fact that the win was seemingly within grasp, Thibodeau was short, telling Dodd, "Yeah, I don't work backwards like you guys do, the score was going the other way."
TNT's Cheryl Miller said during her postgame report that the United Center crowd went silent when Rose hit the floor—so silent, in fact, that the vibe was "eerie."
A deep bench may have been enough for the Bulls as they finished out the regular season, but it won't be enough for them now. Without Rose, their title dreams are just as good as gone.