This makes the possibility of him missing the entire 2012-2013 season all the more scary and frustrating for the fans and the organization. Any devastating injury like this could make a team crumble from its core, but there is still reason to hope for the Bulls this year.
It won't be an easy task to remain an elite team without their core player, but there are a few reasons in particular why not all hope is lost for the Bulls going into this upcoming season.
It won't be an easy comeback to make, but you can believe Derrick Rose is going to do everything that he can to return to the court before this season is over.
An ACL tear is one of the more serious and, unfortunately, increasingly common injuries in sports today. It requires a lot of excruciating rehabilitation and patience in order to heal completely, and I'm sure any athlete who goes through this process is dying to get back into the action.
Rose is no different and he wants to be out there with his teammates, trying to win a championship. As willing as his mind is, however, his body will still take time to recover.
Chicago fans can take solace this season in knowing that Rose is spending every waking moment trying to heal himself and staying sharp. Maybe with a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck, we might see him back on the floor before season's end.
Though franchises usually prefer to keep their team as young and fresh as possible, the fact that the Bulls' are the NBA's fourth-oldest team can come in handy in a season like this.
A big injury to a franchise centerpiece could shake a young team who has never been in a situation like this, but Chicago has a roster full of experienced players who have been through a lot of scenarios in their NBA careers.
Guys like Nazr Mohammed and Richard Hamilton both have championship experience and know what it takes to get the job done, even in the face of adversity. The Bulls also have some players who have been with the team for a while (Luol Deng and Joakim Noah) who know what the team was like before the days of Rose. They also know each other's games well enough to continue to build team chemistry around them.
Though Rose will be gone for at least most of the season, the Bulls are not left hung out to dry with their current point guards on the roster.
Making his return to Chicago is Kirk Hinrich, who may see a career revitalization by coming back to his original team. Hinrich is a solid veteran who can still score the ball decently well, as well as facilitate an offense, especially with teammates who he's played with before.
Additionally, the Bulls have a scoring spark off of the bench in Nate Robinson and a young rookie to groom in Marquis Teague. Robinson and Teague could share minutes as reserves, as Robinson can play both guard positions.
Overall, the Bulls have plenty of talent and while it's not nearly as good as having a Derrick Rose, it could be much worse for Chicago.
The Eastern Conference has generally been weaker than the Western Conference in recent years, and this season should be no different.
Other than the two legit title contenders (Miami and Boston) and some fringe contenders (Indiana, Brooklyn, New York and Philadelphia), there isn't a whole lot of competition to at least make the playoffs. This gives the Bulls a shot, no matter how bad they do without Rose, to at least punch their ticket to a postseason berth.
The hope is that Rose may be able to return around the postseason and help the Bulls make a run as a lower seed. If he does come back to aid Chicago, the Bulls will almost certainly thrust their way back up to their elite status and may have a legitimate shot to upend the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat.
If there's something the Bulls were able to keep intact with the loss of Derrick Rose, it was their defensive-minded play.
Even though they lost a key defensive center in Omer Asik, the Bulls do still have plenty of great players to get the job done. Joakim Noah and Luol Deng are probably the most notable defenders in the starting lineup, and they are both lengthy and tenacious in their on-ball defense.
As a team, Chicago has to take its great defensive play and parlay that into turnovers and opportunities to score points on offense. Rose is obviously a key part to this Bulls offense, and they may have troubles finding a consistent scoring leader this season. By using their strong defensive tendencies to their advantage, the Bulls are out to prove the old adage that defense does win championships.