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One of the NBA's most exciting young players will miss the rest of this season because of a right knee injury. The Chicago Bulls announced point guard Derrick Rose is out, following surgery this morning. He was named basketball's Most Valuable Player in 2011.
As NPR's Tom Goldman reports, Rose missed all of last season recovering from an injury to his other knee.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: It was last Friday night, a game against the Portland Trailblazers. Derrick Rose cut to the basket to receive a pass. Portland intercepted. And as Rose changed direction, his right knee buckled.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: There's that backdoor cut he put on the brakes and then right there, almost like he just kind of took an awkward step - right there.
GOLDMAN: The medial meniscus in his right knee, which helps cushion the knee, tore at that instant and so did a team's hopes. Sam Smith writes for Bulls.com. He's covered the team for more than 30 years.
SAM SMITH: These players came into this season with Derrick's return, healthy, believing they can win the title. Now they can't win the title. You can't compete for a title without your superstar player.
GOLDMAN: That means two years in a row the Bulls and their fans will have to tamp down expectations. Rose tore the ACL in his left knee at the beginning of the 2012 playoffs. Rehabbed all last season and sat on the bench during Chicago's spirited run in the 2013 playoffs, which ended in the second round. This year, Bulls fans were just learning how to exhale when Rose would explode to the hoop, because the left knee looked strong. He was playing well. Then the right one gave out.
But today's news isn't all grim. Reportedly, surgeons chose a more conservative repair procedure that requires a longer recovery period. It's often done with younger players - Rose is 25 - who should have a lot of playing years left. The payoff, says Sam Smith, comes when Rose returns.
Derrick's left knee from the ACL is fine. We've seen that - it's really healthy. And right knee, you know, with the meniscus comes back really strong, if you're conservative. So, you know, he should come back with the best knees in the NBA.
Smith disagrees with speculation that the Bulls now will blow up their roster and re-stock with younger players. He expects the team to compete, as it did last year. You owe it to the league and your fans and yourself, says Smith, to be professional. It also doesn't hurt that Chicago plays the 1-and-14 Utah Jazz tonight, a game the Bulls should win, even without their brightest star.
Tom Goldman, NPR News.
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