Derrick Rose…the cheers, the thrills, the fantastic shots, the amazement he gave to fans on the court was really something. But why am I using past tense here? Well, as we all know by now – and some of us who are still sobering up to the fact that it actually occurred – Derrick Rose’s mighty fourth season is now over. Worse? The acrobatics and fire of Mr. Rose may perhaps be gone for good.
The news reels seem to be showing it every second of every day – that amazing player crumpling to the ground as if he had just been hit in the head with Michael Jordan’s foot as the mighty icon delivered one of his thrilling jump shots. Derrick Rose clutched his left knee and ended up writhing in pain for the world to see as the medical personnel walked into view. Yes…with that one horrific jump stop, Derrick Rose wound up with a torn anterior cruciate ligament as the Bulls went on to win Game 1of their Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
The crowd was literally beyond hyped up to watch the Bulls knock out the 76ers, but with that one moment in time the win became a lot like a funeral.
Kyle Korver called it: “The saddest win ever.”
Derrick Rose did miss twenty-seven games during the regular season with a myriad of other injuries. But even though he’d missed that much court time, on Saturday he suddenly appeared out of the darkness as the most explosive player the NBA has seen in a good, long time. For anyone who is scared a bit of Fate, or the ‘things’ that cannot be explained, it is almost a little frightening to have witnessed his performance this past Saturday. Because, quite honestly, he looked just like the dynamic player who came into the NBA as the youngest MVP ever, just four years ago. He brought with him a magic that had not been seen in a long time, leading some to think that this may have been the ultimate swan song to a killer career.
The Bulls are beyond upset, to say the least. Derrick Rose is by far their best player, and they have now lost him in their best regular season in years at the point where they are headed straight for a championship run. Everyone surrounded each other on Saturday after the game, including team Chairman, Jerry Reinsdorf. Other players and people higher up in the Bulls’ management rushed to the hospital to support their friend, and pray (most likely) that the “pop” his teammate heard was not the air going out of the Bull’s balloon for good.
Rose will undergo surgery once the swelling subsides, and could be sidelined for up to nine months. But the worst part of it is that Derrick Rose’s brilliance may have just shone the brightest before the injury occurred.
The Bulls, of course, did get help from others on the team to get their win. 19 points came from Richard Hamilton; 12, with 13 rebounds, came from Noah…but a series of turnovers and fouls and, quite simply, bad play, had allowed the 76ers to trim their deficit to 12.
Philly was making a true run, and boosting their team‘s confidence with every step closer to tying things up. And even though they walked away with the loss, the Bulls loss was far greater.
It is up to C.J. Watson to follow in Rose’s footsteps, to see if the Bulls can prove to the world that they CAN do this without Derrick Rose. Game 2 is on tonight, Tuesday, and fans are just swallowing hard and doing their very best to route for the Bulls. Even the players are hoping to take this one for Derrick and show their teammate that they can get to this championship come heck or high water. Yes, the Bulls have won without Derrick Rose, to be sure, but the complete kick to the ribs is something they will still be suffering as they head back out onto the court.
The players say: “That’s our brother. We’re a family here. He’s such a competitor and loves the game. We finally had everybody healthy. It’s just tough…”
And this family is really getting mad. There are a lot of stories out there right now about Twitter feeds, advertisements and marketing deals with Nike, and things that have been done in very poor taste where Derrick Rose and his injury are concerned. Things that may just fire up the Bulls with so much passion that they will literally fly through this and take the championship simply because they’re angry!
How is Rose? Well…he’s still being the ‘superstar’ he’s always been – and a very humble one at that. He isn’t falling into the anger mode (he’s leaving that for his devoted fans). It was Coach Thibodeau who remarked to the media that Derrick was in good spirits, yet they had no idea whether he would attend Game 2 to route on his team. Thibodeau said, “He wants to be around. As soon as he can be here, he’ll be here.”
The Coach also remarked on the ton of well-wishers – the calls from coaches, fans, management, players, etc. who really are routing for Derrick Rose to come back to the court and not have to call it a day so soon in his career. It is truly evident how much respect everyone has for this young man…and they should. Rose has made sure from Day One of his NBA professional career that he was not only a great player, but also represented the game and the league with dignity. He even met with his teammates to make sure that they knew it was not him or his injury that was the issue at this point in time – all Derrick Rose cares about is the Bulls continuing to win and getting that championship season they’ve been wanting.
The one huge upside here is that Derrick Rose has shown yet another undeniable skill since his induction into the NBA, and that is determination. This young man is a fierce competitor and he will fight with everything he’s got. Chances are he will literally attack this injury and his rehabilitation and become the first NBA player to come back from an ACL tear in less than two months.
So while everyone is simply sitting in stunned silence wondering what all this means for the hopes and dreams of a Bulls’ title and, more importantly, the career of a huge, young superstar – Derrick Rose is going to be making SURE that he can come back for another championship season! Perhaps back-to-back championships? GO BULLS!
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