With a Game 1 victory all but decided, Derrick Rose drove to the hoop, came to a jump stop and felt something funny. As he left the ground, he immediately let go of the ball, grasped his knee and crumbled to the ground.
It was a horrible scene.
After being tended to by trainers, with stunned teammates by his side, Rose was helped to the locker room. The game finished quietly with everyone wondering about his status.
As you now know, he suffered a torn ACL and will be done for the rest of the season, as reported by ESPN. He will need surgery and will also miss the Olympics.
This is devastating news for the Bulls. Kyle Korver posted an update to his official Facebook page after the game. It was extremely heartfelt and personal, and showed just how close the Bulls are. In Korver's words:
Right about now, the disbelief has faded, anger has subsided and were all wondering...why? Why. Why. Why Derrick, again? Derrick is more than an MVP to our team. He's our friend, our brother he inspires us to be the very best we can be, just by who he is and how hard he plays. That he has spent so much time this year hurt, was frustrating. Now that he is out for the rest of the season, well its just plain sad. No one is to blame; what happened, did. We send him our prayers, our love, our good wishes that he heals and comes back stronger, better, healthier than ever before.
Bulls fans. Now is not the time to ask why or to get bitter. Now is the time to refocus and ask "How are we going to win this Championship?" We have the best Team in the league. This season has proven, we are a TEAM and it has taken us ALL to have the best record. Lets focus on whats ahead. This is an incredible opportunity for All of Us to step up and make it happen. We're all gonna have to work harder and smarter. We are all gonna have to believe in ourselves. That we are more than the sum of our parts. We need YOU to believe with Us. We need You to believe for Us. We are going to keep going strong. One quarter, one game, one round at a time. Until its over. That's how we're gonna do it.
The Bulls have had plenty of experience playing without the reigning MVP this season. Of the 66 games in the schedule, there were only 39 games that Rose was able to play in. The Bulls still managed to hold down the fort without him and finished the regular season first overall in the East.
Their road becomes much tougher in the playoffs. Tougher opponents, higher intensity—without their closer down the stretch, things won't be easy. All eyes will be on Tom Thibodeau's system as the series continues. After a season of reserves stepping up and surviving without their star, the reigning Coach of the Year will show us what he can do.
C.J. Watson and John Lucas III will step up in Rose's absence, and they will try to pick up where they left off. Things will not be easy for the Bulls, but having played half of a season without Rose will prove to be a benefit as they try to collect their bearings and continue on without him.
As for Rose, this is a devastating injury. His smiling face currently splashed across the cover of the latest GQ magazine. This was his time—his moment to shine. Instead of shining, he will be striving to keep his spirits up for his teammates and then will shift his focus to rehabbing his knee.
Injuries are a part of the game. They are, without a doubt, the absolute worst part of the game. Regardless of who you're rooting for this postseason, root for the health of every player hitting the court.