According to ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau has ruled out Rose for the rest of the season while he continues his recovery from a medical meniscus tear in his right knee.
Adding to the concern for both player and club, Rose had just made his return from a torn ACL suffered less than 18 months earlier.
Although the announcement serves as a huge blow to Chicago's hopes of making a deep playoff run and contending for a title this spring, it hardly comes as a surprise. After all, the Bulls' No. 1 priority is Rose's long-term health, and the front office will want to ensure that their franchise superstar is able to contribute in the years to come.
Rose suffered the injury in late November in a game against the Portland Trail Blazers and underwent surgery just days later. The Chicago Bulls' official Twitter account provided the details:
After the injury, Bleacher Report's Howard Beck speculated on what Rose's injury might mean to the team's long-term outlook:
Back in December, Rose refused to rule out a potential comeback this season, per Bleacher Report's Ethan J. Skolnick:
In February, a source close to the situation told the Chicago Sun-Times' Joe Cowley that Rose was "ahead of schedule in his recovery."
Thibodeau confirmed Rose's progress, per Cowley:
"He can shoot, he’s doing some jogging on a treadmill, he’s coming along. Still got to be patient, go step-by-step, nothing close to practicing."
Despite Rose's absence, the Bulls (39-31) are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference through the 70 games and are seemingly a lock to reach the postseason. If Chicago can finish strong, it will even have a shot to host a first-round playoff series next month.
But while the Bulls' second-ranked defense gives them a chance to win against anyone, their 30th-ranked scoring offense will ultimately cost them in a seven-game series.
Sure, a healthy Rose would give them a great shot to beat any of the NBA's elite teams. But without the former league MVP in the lineup, it appears that Chicago's best-case scenario is reaching the Eastern Conference semifinals this May.
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