Over the last month and a half, the Chicago Bulls' season has taken a turn for the worst.
And there's still no Derrick Rose.
It's not looking good for the Bulls, and there's a chance it could get worse.
Here are a few scenarios in which their season could be ruined.
Joakim Noah's Injury History
Joakim Noah has had a history of plantar fasciitis, and it led to him missing three games earlier in February. If it were to start bothering him again and force him to miss extended time, the Bulls' season could essentially end.
In the four games Noah missed this season (one was due to the flu), the Bulls have won just two.
Noah has arguably been the best player on the team. His defense, rebounding and hustle are irreplaceable.
The Bulls' lack of frontcourt depth would really hurt them if Noah got hurt again. They don't have a very good backup center in Nazr Mohammed, and his loss would hurt both the starting lineup and the second unit.
With all the injuries Chicago currently has, Noah is the one guy they can't afford to lose.
Fallout Between Bulls Organization and Rose's Camp
Bulls general manager Gar Forman has recently said there is no communication issues between the organization and Rose's camp (via Chicago Tribune), but earlier comments from Rose's camp show otherwise.
Rose's brother, Reggie Rose, voiced his displeasure with the team and spoke out about how they haven't done anything to help D-Rose on the court:
"What have you pieced together? Have you made any moves? Have you made any trades to get better? You know all roads to the championship lead through Miami," Reggie Rose told ESPNChicago.com. "What pieces have you put together for the physical playoffs?"
Should there be a big issue between the two sides, it could take a sour turn.
If somebody close to Rose tells him to play it safe and just wait until next season to make his return, he could potentially do so, especially if the team continues to perform poorly. After all, he's already said his return could come next season (via USA Today).
This would leave the Bulls without their star player and prime for an early-round exit from the postseason.
This could be a problem for the Bulls, more so if Rose decides to sit out until next season.
There are also the several other injuries the Bulls are dealing with, and the possibility of re-injury or a situation where one of the players can't perform at a high level due to discomfort or nagging pain is very possible.
If Hinrich can't play and Rose doesn't return, the Bulls will be stuck with the streaky Nate Robinson at the starting point, and even though he's had some success, his inability to consistently run the offense will hurt the Bulls in the playoffs.
Gibson's ACL sprain could be a bother for him once he returns. If he can't play with his regular intensity and hustle, it could impact the Bulls' overall performance going forward. There's also a chance he re-aggravates his injury, hurting the Bulls' thin frontcourt.
A series of injuries coupled with Rose's decision to sit for the remainder of the season is the worst thing that could happen to the Bulls. They haven't fared well recently with their current lineup and they're in need of extra help.
If their players don't return and play consistently, Chicago is headed for a disappointing end to the season.
There's still time for the Bulls to turn it around, but they're going to have to do it quickly. They're another injury—or a decision—away from having their season ruined.
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