Derrick Rose to undergo surgery for torn medial meniscus in right knee
Derrick Rose is set to undergo serious knee surgery for the third time in three years. The Chicago Bulls announced Tuesday night that the star point guard and 2011 MVP will undergo surgery to repair the medial meniscus in his right knee. A timetable has not been set. Rose told team officials of the pain at practice Tuesday and received an exam and MRI soon after.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune has tweeted that a source believes the damage is not as substantial as the meniscus tear that forced Rose to miss all but 10 games of the 2013-14 season, although details will not be known until after the surgery.
The news is the latest in a string of unfortunate knee injuries for Rose, one of the league's most popular players. Rose suffered a tear to the same medial meniscus in his right knee just 10 games into the 2013-14 season and missed the remainder of the campaign. That injury came roughly 18 months after tearing the ACL in his left knee in the first game of the 2011-12 playoffs that kept him out of that postseason and the full 2012-13 season.
Rose returned to action in 2014-15 and impressed with regularity in his 46 games prior to this announcement. While he had missed games intermittently due to various ailments, the 26-year-old Chicago native had appeared to be in reasonably good health and remained a key part of the Bulls' hopes of title contention.
Many NBA players, including LeBron James, sent out thoughts and well wishes to Rose on social media and elsewhere:
Man feel bad for D.Rose! Keep your head up homie and stay strong G!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 25, 2015
Russell Westbrook to @NBATV on the Derrick Rose injury: pic.twitter.com/xo7ewiGcU5
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 25, 2015
Although Rose's 2014-15 pre-injury season included many positives, it had been clear that he was not the same player he had been before his injuries. Rose is currently averaging 18.4 ppg on just 40.7 percent shooting with 5.0 apg, well below his MVP averages of 25.0 ppg on 44.5 percent shooting and 7.7 apg in 2010-11. If NBA fans and observers became excited every time he put up 30 points, then they also had to contend with the disappointment of seeing him struggle to play efficiently his next time on the court.
Regardless, questions about Rose's ability to perform at an elite level seems like welcome problems in the face of his current predicament. No matter how much time he misses due to this surgery, Rose will encounter doubts over his ability to come back and perform at the level that his reputation and prior success suggest he is capable of. It's hard to imagine he won't ever play in the NBA again — Rose is extremely competitive and set to make more than $41 million in the two seasons following this one — but worrying about his future seems like a prudent response to such an awful situation.
Despite the loss, the Bulls should be able to remain a respectable playoff team in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls sit at third in the East at 36-21, just a half-game ahead of the surging Cleveland Cavaliers. While it would not be shocking to see Chicago fall below the Washington Wizards and lose homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs, their core is fairly used to playing without Rose and will win its fair share of the final 25 games. The front line of Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, and Nikola Mirotic is among the best in the NBA and Jimmy Butler has become an All-Star shooting guard.
However, it might be best to leave these forecasts for later. Right now, the proper perspective finds Rose at another difficult moment in his career. One of the most talented and explosive guards of his generation may never regain that form again. It's enough to feel sad for Rose and anyone who found joy in watching him play.
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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter!