Reigning MVP Derrick Rose Tears ACL, Out For Playoffs
Reigning MVP Derrick Rose will miss the remainder of the 2012 NBA Playoffs and the entire London Olympics after tearing the ACL in his left knee Saturday afternoon.
At the time of the injury, the Chicago Bulls were leading the Philadelphia 76ers by 12 points with 1:22 remaining in Game 1 of a first-round Eastern Conference series. This has led many to question why the Bulls’ star player was still in the game.
Of course, “hindsight is 20-20” as the saying goes, but the commonly asked question is a fair one: Why was Rose still on the court when the win already appeared to be secure for the home team?
“Well, he’s gotta play and we sat him until the seven-minute mark of the fourth and he’s got to work on closing and finishing," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. "That’s what I was thinking.”
Due to a slew of injuries (none of which relating to the knee), Rose only played 39 of his team’s 66 scheduled games this season.
“He’s had a lot of injuries this year,” said the second-year coach. “It’s been unfortunate, but we do have more than enough to win with, so we’ll deal with it.”
Thibodeau is right in a sense. Even though their star player missed 27 games, the Bulls managed to finish with the best record in the East for the second consecutive year. Chicago won a robust two-thirds of its games (18-9 record) without Rose. On the other hand, the team was even more dominant with their star, boasting a record of 32-7 (.821).
“It’s part of the game,” Thibodeau added. “There’s going to be injuries. A guy could get hurt in practice. He could get hurt in the first five minutes of a game. He could get hurt at the end of a game. He could get hurt any time and you’ve got to deal with it.”
Last season, Rose was named MVP at the mere age of 22. After leading his team to the best record in the East and posting a career-high 25.0 points per game (not to mention 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds), Rose took his team to the Eastern Conference Finals before the Bulls ran into the red-hot Miami Heat. The Heat would win the series in five games, but Rose had taken the Bulls deeper into the playoffs than anyone had since Michael Jordan more than a decade earlier.
Even though the Bulls boast a strong supporting cast replete with role players of all kinds, including veteran guard and former NBA champion Richard Hamilton, they face an uphill climb without their star player.
“It might be one of the saddest wins we’ve ever had,” Bulls forward Carlos Boozer told reporters after the game.
Throughout the lockout-shortened season, many have complained that the condensed scheduled has significantly increased the occurrence of serious injury. Former player and current TV analyst Jalen Rose tweeted, “Everyone knew/feared that playing 66 games in 123 days plus travel would cause major injuries. Now we are seeing big name casualties.”
Magic center Dwight Howard elected to have season-ending back surgery earlier this month.
Not only will Team USA have to make do without its imposing center. Now it must also compete without its talented young point guard in London this summer.