At the time of the injury, everyone knew it was quite serious, as the All-NBA talent was grimacing in pain, but the fact that one of the league's brightest young stars sustained an anterior crucial ligament tear in his left knee is a crucial gut-wrenching punch to the former MVP, the Bulls and the league.
Even Doug Collins, coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, was deeply disturbed by Rose's injury in Chicago's 103-91 victory over the coach's eighth-seeded squad. Before Collins heard the extent of the injury, this is what the veteran coach had to say about the trending matter.
"I'm sure right now, there's a lot of concern over Derrick Rose," the 76ers head coach said. "I sure hope he's not seriously hurt."
"I admire him so much. I think he's one of the young, bright lights in this NBA. I hope he's going to be back and I hope he's going to be able to play. I admire his greatness."
While Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau's seat is definitely heating up in Chicago, as many disagree with the coach's decision to play Rose in the waning minutes of a sure-fire victory, the team's championship aspirations have taken a major hit.
But, should we count out the league's best regular-season team?
Throughout the course of the truncated schedule, Derrick Rose has been plagued by the pesky injury bug. From turf toe to a nagging ankle, the All-Star starter's year has been marred by numerous physical ailments and this latest news is just the icing on the proverbial cake.
With Rose's multitude of absences from the starting lineup this year, we have noticed that the Bulls are more than capable to make a splash this postseason without him. After all, the Rose-less Bulls went 18-9 this year. Additionally, they outscored their opponents by 8.2 points per 100 possessions according to NBA.com. The only team to beat this statistic this season was the Bulls themselves with Rose in the rotation.
If there is one team that can rebound from losing their superstar, the squad is the Chicago Bulls.
They have the depth, talent and size to not only advance past Philadelphia to the second round, but compete against the upper-echelon teams across the association. With Rose missing, the team beat the Boston Celtics twice and the Miami Heat.
During these games, backups John Lucas III and C.J. Watson proved competent to play at a high level with extensive minutes. Sure, neither players are the caliber of Derrick Rose, but who is? He is the best point guard in the league.
With Watson and Lucas III on the roster, the Bulls don't have to fret about finding a replacement. But, this isn't the only way the Bulls' depth is going to prove to be vital.
In fact, Chicago's plethora of starter-quality big men may be the team's greatest asset. Both savvy veteran Carlos Boozer and defensive-minded Joakim Noah are top-tier players for their respective positions. When you add in backups Taj Gibson and Omer Asik, you have stumbled upon the most talented group of post players in the Eastern Conference.
In the end, size wins championships in the NBA. Just take a trip down memory lane and explore all of the past rosters who have captured the elusive Larry O'Brien Trophy in the past few years. The Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics all have had two things in common. They all have won a championship in the last decade and they were, and still are, home to some of the best big man tandems in the league.
Speaking of Carlos Boozer, this established veteran needs to be the player that steps up with Rose done for the playoffs.
Since signing his current massive contract with Chicago, the Bulls' starting power forward's play has left much to be desired. He is not putting up the same numbers that made him a household name in Utah. This season, Boozer is averaging over 15 points and eight boards per game. This is his worst statistical season since his 2002-03 rookie year with Cleveland. Ouch.
Boozer, while considered a defensive liability, has the intangibles and offensive prowess to assume more of the scoring load with Rose gone. He can knock down the mid-range jumper, effectively post-up any power forward and penetrate the lane.
However, Boozer will have help, as first-time All-Star Luol Deng and elder statesman Richard Hamilton are two of the best pure scorers in the league. Both can be effective with or without the ball in their hands. While Hamilton has battled injuries this season, the former Detroit Pistons star played fantastic in Saturday's opener. Hamilton added 19 points towards the worthy cause off an efficient 6-7 shooting from the field.
Deng, similarly, looked ready for the playoffs, as he registered 17 points and six boards. In addition, he played fantastic defense, throwing point-forward Andre Iguodala off his game.
The last time the Bulls were championship contenders and without their superstar was when Michael Jordan decided to pursue a baseball career. Despite not winning the championship, the Scottie Pippen-led Bulls still made their presence known.
In my opinion, the Bulls are like a rose flower. The team may have lost their thorns, but do you still want to touch it?
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