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Derrick Rose’s injury punch to gut of Chicago, opens doors elsewhere

Apr 28, 2012, 8:16 PM EDT

Bulls Rose is helped off the court after getting hurt during their NBA quarter-final playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Chicago Reuters

Derrick Rose’s injury sucks. He is out for the playoffs with a torn ACL and there is no other word but sucks to do it justice. (Well, other words I can run here, anyway.)

It also changes the playoff picture in the East completely.

First and foremost, this just sucks for fans of basketball who now will be deprived of seeing one of the game’s most exciting players on its biggest stage. It also means we will be deprived of seeing Rose in the 2012 London Olympics — it’s unlikely he is healthy enough and doubly unlikely he’d take the risk of rushing back for the games. But when one door closes a window opens — this almost guarantees Russell Westbrook will get a roster spot. In London.

Next, this is a punch to the gut of Chicago — Bulls fans suddenly become Cubs fans talking about “next year” much earlier than they should.

The Bulls are a good team without Rose but they are not a title contender. Everyone knows it, which is why this is such a blow. This morning Chicago fans woke up thinking they had a real shot at a ring this season, then for the first 46 minutes of Game 1 against the 76ers felt better about that as they had the old Derrick Rose back — Taj Gibson said that to Aggrey Sam of

“He looked like he was having fun. He was back to the old Derrick.”

The Bulls still won the game 103-91, in part because the injury happened with just more than a minute to go.

When Rose went to the ground late in the game it was like the breath was sucked out of the United Center. It still feels that way in Chicago.

Tom Thibodeau, who has played his starters heavy minutes this year, will hear a lot of flack over this — why was Rose in the game with the Bulls up 12 and just over a minute left? Why, because it’s the playoffs and you don’t take anything for granted. This is not the Timberwolves in February, this is a playoff game. The injury was a fluke, it could have happened any time, and it’s not on Thibodeau.

The Bulls will fight valiantly, they are used to playing without Rose and held on to the top spot in the East without him. But the playoffs are different, defense and execution are not enough, you need the talent to go with them. Chicago’s door will close because they lost their best talent on a fluke injury.

Finally, for other teams in the East, the door just swung open.

It’s not fair, but the reality of the playoffs. There is no asterisk next to the Magic reaching the NBA finals in 2009 because Kevin Garnett was hurt, just like there is no asterisk next to the Lakers 2010 title because Kendrick Perkins got hurt for Game 7. Injuries to key players are part of the playoffs and you can do it with any season if you want.

For the Miami Heat, their toughest obstacle to a finals return has been dealt a serious blow. They just became prohibitive favorites in the East (and it didn’t hurt that LeBron James looked dominant against the Knicks).

For the Boston Celtics — and maybe the Atlanta Hawks — they can now see a clear path to the NBA finals. The winner of the Boston/Atlanta series will get the depleted Bulls (or victorious Sixers, although I still don’t expect that). Boston — with it’s good defense and now superior point guard play and overall talent level — would be the favorites against the Bulls.

Celtics fans can dream — beat Atlanta, get by the Bulls now and suddenly you are in the Eastern Conference Finals against a very good but flawed Heat team. Banner 18 is still a long shot, but it seems more possible than it did 24 hours ago.

Derrick Rose’s tragic knee injury has changed the playoffs in the East. Miami and Boston (and maybe Atlanta) are the biggest beneficiaries.

Bulls fans, they just feel sick.

  1. gmsingh - Apr 28, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    The Bulls “had the top spot in the East”? What part of “best record in the NBA” is confusing, Kurt?

    • rodgersmvp - Apr 28, 2012 at 8:36 PM

      What part of “tied with the Spurs” is confusing?

      • deiong - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:28 PM

        what part of they beat the spurs for home court advantage is confusing?

      • gmsingh - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        The injury report comparison.

    • redstar504 - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:03 AM

      Like I said earlier that injury looked identical to what happened to David West a year ago a week or so before the series we had last season with the Lakers. Ended up being the same result. I feel out for Bulls fans right now but take soloist in this Bulls fans West came back this season and put up pretty decent numbers for Indiana this season. He didn’t exactly have a rep as a training room warrior either and he bounced back pretty quick. I know it’s bad right now but Rose will be back next year. Just stinks for Bulls fans, team USA and NBA fans at large in the hear and now.

  2. hwatt - Apr 28, 2012 at 8:39 PM


  3. prosourcetalk - Apr 28, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Doesn’t this mean he will miss a significant portion of next season as well?

  4. philliphernandez - Apr 28, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    Not a Bulls fan but I hate to see players go down like this during the playoffs. I wish him a full and speedy recovery. Those matchups in the East have lost some of their appeal without Rose, and that is a damn shame.

  5. mornelithe - Apr 28, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    I gotta tell you, things like this piss me off, and I’m a Celtics fan. There’s nothing I despise more than seeing probably the most talented (or 1 of the top 2) teams, crippled due to injury. It doesn’t necessarily ruin the playoffs entirely, but it definitely detracts from them. I’ve no illusions that the Celtics probably won’t win it all this season (there’s always a chance, no matter how slim), but I prefer seeing teams compete at full strength, and not get wins because a key element is missing.

    Bulls and Rose fans, my sincerest condolences here. Without a doubt the worst news thus far, Ray Allen missing games is nothing compared to this, in my opinion. I really hope either A) You win it all, or B) We see you guys back in the playoffs next season…full strength.

    Either way, good luck in game 2 Bulls, seriously….what a shame.

    • giselleisasucubus - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:48 PM

      amen. Sucks for him, bulls fans and the league… I think the Celtics chances are hell of a lot better than slim. Have faith in #18.

      • mornelithe - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:59 PM

        The Celtics have a chance, no doubt, I just think there’s a huge huge huge mountain to climb here. I also don’t like the fact that with Rose going down, the Celtics chances went up pretty dramatically, as I said, I really don’t like winning anything, championship or regular season, because the other team is missing a key component. Just doesn’t seem right to me.

        Anyway, obviously I would love to see the Celtics win, but…I’d prefer to see them have to battle through a full-strength Bulls…you know what I mean?

    • dal24la - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:00 AM

      I slightly disagree, this ruins the Eastern conference playoffs for me because now there is only 1 series (Boston vs Miami) I’m interested in now.

      • mornelithe - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:05 AM

        I hear you, I know how you feel. If I were a Bulls fan, I’d be seriously disheartened…I guess the silver-lining (if there can be in this instance), is that Derrick will be back next year, and the Bulls will almost certainly be playoff bound again. But, it is so disappointing when something like this happens.

        I wish him a speedy recovery, and hope he returns to full form next season.

  6. chitownmatt - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Get well soon D.

    Bulls fans have been waiting an entire year to get back to the ECF to face the Heat.

    This just sucks!!!

  7. deiong - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    its gotta be those horrible shoes…. addidas took down another great player….

  8. deiong - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    wow just read a new york guy as well.. two guys one day in playoffs.. gott be the shoes. bad adidas.

  9. giselleisasucubus - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    I feel for him and Bulls fans. As a Celtic fan, I thought the C’s had a fighters chance all along. Now they are the favorite in the east. They dismantled Miami this year, and with Pietrus, Bradley and Bass, (Pavlovic is a sleeper too) the Celtics are better this year and more equipped to handle Miami’s athleticism than they were last year . Celtics vs. Thunder in the Finals.

  10. lumas101 - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    In my opinion, the Bulls’ worst-case scenario just became their best-case scenario. If the team can bounce back mentally, they are more than talented enough to beat Philly. A series against Boston will be extremely entertaining. The point guard matchup is now clearly in Boston’s favor, but Watson and Lucas III aren’t horrible. The Bulls have enough depth and younger legs that I would expect a repeat of the Bulls/Celtics series from a few years ago where it goes 6-7 games with some big momentum swings either way. If the Bulls are fortunate enough to make it to the conference finals I can see them stealing a game or two from Miami, but they can’t win the series. It’s a shame for a team that had realistic title hopes coming into the season.

    • monarch897 - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:10 AM

      The Bulls aren’t done I think they are going to surprise a lot of people and Thibodeau’s standing as Coach of the Year will be solidified.

      Mark these words.

  11. dal24la - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    To be fair Thibs also player his starters late in blowouts versus the Timberwolves in February(not literally ppl, just using his phrase) but I don’t blame him for this.

  12. pkopco - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    Now you know how Timberwolves fans felt when Rubio went down. We might have made the playoffs but had no chance without him.

  13. sasquash20 - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    Even as a Sixers fan I don’t want to see a young kid get hurt like that. I know this opens the door ever so slightly for my Sixers, but I wouldn’t want to win a series because the other team is without one of their best players and one of the best players in the league. I don’t think the Sixers will win the series now, but you never know how a lose like this will effect the rest of the Bulls team mentally. I know he missed a lot of time during the season, but he was always coming back. I think everyone stepped up their game to try and get the home court so they could make a run at a title once he came back. This is a heart breaking injury no doubt. Bulls in my opinion were the only team in the East I thought could and would have beaten the Heat. I like Rose a lot, to me he is the kind of kid you want on your squad. I hope Rose comes back 100 percent next season and does what he does best. He is a joy to watch.

  14. cowboychris5xchamps - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:37 AM

    CALLING KANCITY88! WHERE ARE YOU, YOU F#%&?! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!! I told you Rose stays hurt!!!

    • delius1967 - Apr 29, 2012 at 11:31 AM

      Anyone who would exult in the injury of a star player needs a serious reality check, and probably needs to be kicked off the boards as well. The playoffs just got a lot less interesting and, Jesu H Christo, a human being suffered a terrible injury. I’m a Cowboys fan, too, but I’m ashamed to be associated with someone like you in any way.

      If nothing else, I want the players I dislike LBJ completely healthy just because watching them lose is so much more satisfying than watching them riding the pine.

  15. rodge1 - Apr 29, 2012 at 4:26 AM


    Celtics are favorite in the East????… I think it’s time to visit the eye-doctor or fix your tv set dude.

  16. omniusprime - Apr 29, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    The Eastern Creampuff Conference is now just a joke, no competition for Queen James and the Heat. Goes to show how pathetic the Eastern Creampuff Conference is when one key player goes down guaranteeing that one team can’t be beat by the other 7 worthless teams. I mean look at the sorry joke the Knicks have become getting crushed by over 30 points besides losing some pathetic excuse for a guard. The one Western Conference game showed just how much more awesome the West is over the Eastern Creampuff teams.

    Go Lakers!!!!! Go Kobe!!!!!

  17. cowboychris5xchamps - Apr 29, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    @ omniousprime: Mavs fan & Western Conf guy here….you were doing pretty good until you called Shumpert a pathetic excuse for a guard. Apparently you only watch NBA basketball when 2 Western Conf teams play one another, this 21 year old kid who’s also a rookie is the real deal…quit watching Glee and watch more basketball you jerkoff!

  18. pasportyxlc - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Hate to see Rose go down like that…….It gives my sixers an ever so slim chance to move on but to be honest I would rather have rose in and see them face the dirtbags from Miami in the end……The east might be a joke as some say but I’ll never be a westie NEVER !!!!!!

  19. sydneysachs - Apr 29, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    “… just like there is no asterisk next to the Lakers 2010 title because Kendrick Perkins got hurt for Game 7.”

    This is a nitpicky sidenote to the horrendously sad saga of Derrick Rose… but Kurt, gotta love (hate) your typically biased Celtics/Lakers line–little oversight perhaps about the Lakers with a virtually crippled Andrew Bynum for the entire series?!?

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