For Chicago Bulls fans, it was the best of times and the worst of times after the Bulls opened the first round of the NBA playoffs with a 103-91 victory, only to lose superstar point guard Derrick Rose to a season ending knee injury in the 4th quarter.
Rose, who has nursed countless injuries during this shortened season, missed 27 of the Bulls 66 games during the year. The league’s reigning Most Valuable Player looked as if he had returned to form, putting together an impressive statline of 23 points, 9 assists, and 9 rebounds before the scary injury.
With the Bulls up 12, Rose attacked the rim and attempted to execute a hop step before firing up on of his patented floaters. Unfortunately for Rose—and Bulls fans across the country—the hop step will be the last move he makes on a court this season.
Rose reached for his knee immediately, telling teammates that he heard his knee “pop.” Rose was rushed to a nearby hospital where he received a MRI, which brought news of his torn ACL.
Once the swelling goes down Rose will undergo surgery to repair the ligament and begin the rehab process. Although the Bulls managed to hold off the Sixers, the team seemed distraught after the game.
Forward Kyle Korver, whose facial expression looked straight out of a horror movie when the injury happened, told local reporters this was the “saddest win ever.”
“We have to pick ourselves up,” he said. “We’ve played a lot of games this year without him. Maybe that was getting us ready for this.”
Many people immediately questioned why Rose was even in the game with the Bulls up 12 and little time remaining. But even after the injury to his star player, head coach Tom Thibodeau refused to second-guess himself.
“I don’t work backwards like you (reporters) do,” he said. “The score was going the other way. He has to play. He has to work on closing. Our team didn’t handle that part great. That’s what I was thinking.”