Life without Derrick Rose — again

Derrick Rose hurt his right knee against Portland on Nov. 22. (REUTERS)

Derrick Rose hurt his right knee against Portland on Nov. 22. (REUTERS)

Derrick Rose is not coming back this season or any time soon. The sooner the Bulls accept this fact the quicker they’ll get over the shock.

Let’s get real. Without Rose, the Bulls are not going win the NBA championship. Can they still make the playoffs? Absolutely.

There are only two locks to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference and they are Miami and Indiana. The last six spots are wide open.

Rose injured his right knee on Nov. 22. The next day, it was discovered that he had a torn cartilage. Two days later, Rose underwent surgery to repair the meniscus, knocking him out for the remainder of the 2013-14 NBA season.

The Bulls were destroyed by the L.A. Clippers on Saturday and then lost in overtime in Utah. Life without Rose won’t be easy, but the Bulls had done it before and they can do it again. Rose has played just 10 games in two years, and Chicago still has Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and more importantly they have one of the best coaches in the Association in Tom Thibodeau.

“We, of course, feel very badly for Derrick,” Thibodeau said. “He’s in good spirits, about as well as can be expected under the circumstances, and he’s already thinking about his rehab. Typical Derrick. He’s concerned about his team, his teammates.”

Rose has a medial meniscus tear, which is typically less serious than a lateral tear. Some athletes miss only a few weeks after surgery on meniscus tears, while others miss several months. Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook tore his meniscus during the first round of the 2013 playoffs and didn’t return to the court until November.

Renowned trainer Tim Grover tweeted this on Saturday when the Rose news broke: “Couple ways to deal with a meniscus tear. Take it out, you return faster but can shorten your career. Reattach it, miss maybe 4-6 months.”

Bulls officials declared Rose done for the remainder of the season after doctors decided to reattach the meniscus. Even though Rose will miss the next 72 games, he’s expected to make a full recovery.

Rose missed all of last season after tearing a ligament in his left knee in Chicago’s 2012 playoff opener against Philadelphia. Rose already had missed 26 games during that lockout-shortened regular season while battling a variety of injuries.

“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” Thibodeau said. We have to circle the wagons, and then get out there and get the job done.”

Rose has played in just 50 NBA games — 49 in the regular season and that one fateful playoff game — since the Bulls’ run to the Eastern Conference finals during his MVP season in 2011. Last year the Bulls reached the second round without Rose.

If Rose didn’t get the message the first time, he should hear this latest scream from his battered body loud and clear. What his body is telling him after this latest setback is this: slow down.

Rose plays the game 100 mph. He puts so much pressure on defenses with his forays to the basket. But after a second major knee surgery, Rose must, must alter the way he plays. He needs to pull back and retreat; live to fight another day. Instead of driving to the hoop 10 times a game, maybe do five times. Instead of jumping into a defender to draw contact, maybe settle for jumpers.

Rose’s days as an MVP are over. However, Rose’s days as a solid starter who can push his team to a title are still alive. It’s up to Rose how he’ll write the next chapter in his basketball career.

Joel Huerto is the editor and publisher of Follow him on Twitter @onemanfastbreak.

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