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And while the Bulls' season will continue on, that's where that particular breakdown will stop. Derrick Rose, last season's NBA Most Valuable Player, snapped a ligament in his left knee making an abrupt stop late in the game and is done for the playoffs and quite likely the calendar year on into next season.
Rose, who has played in fits and starts of late while dealing with a bum ankle, shook off some early rust to start driving and hitting shots in the second quarter, leading the Bulls to a 53-42 lead at halftime. He struggled again to open the second half, but rallied himself and the Bulls, so that when he hit a couple of bailout threes off borderline loose balls he gave the Bulls a 20-point lead at 93-73 midway through the fourth quarter.
He was shepherding the Bulls home—that's what MVPs do—when he hopped and stopped in the lane with the Bulls up 12 and 80 seconds to play. A TV viewer didn't have to hear the snap to know what happened. When Rose leapt into the air, slow-motion replays showed the leg flopping at the knee, a gruesome image, especially for any Chicago fan who can remember Gale Sayers being undercut by Kermit Alexander.
Interviewed immediately afterward for the fans in the stands, Joakim Noah said it was a good win and advised all to pray for good news for Rose. Those prayers went unanswered, as Rose was diagnosed with a torn ligament, out for the year.
The Bulls certainly have practice this season dealing with adversity. They had their starting-lineup-by-design in place for not even a quarter of the games, yet won 50 of 66 to lead the league. Their fortunes for the rest of the playoffs seem almost secondary, however; they have lost the best player on their team in a way that threatens the rest of his career and makes one wonder if he'll ever be the same.