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Buried hearts by wounded knees

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Weekly Citizen Sports Editor Kyle Riviere

As it turns out, every rose does have its thorn.

The people of Chicago found that out the hard way last week when their franchise player Derrick Rose had yet another season ended by injury.

Rose will miss the rest of the year after surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. This comes just 10 games into his comeback from missing most of the 2011 postseason and all of last year with a torn ACL in his left knee.

The blow is not just crippling to the young and ultra-talented star, but it's devastating for the fans that have seen Rose's brilliance and potential to be a championship contender when he was healthy.

In 2010, he took the league by storm--scoring 25 and dishing out eight assists per game en route to leading the Bulls to the best record in the NBA at 62-20.

Rose earned MVP honors and led Chicago to the Eastern Conference Finals where they lost to the Heat.

The next year was supposed to be when Rose helped the Windy City get over the hump and lead them to championship hardware that had been vacant ever since Michael Jordan called it quits.

However, Rose spent most of the year on the bench with nagging injuries. He only played 39 games and in the Bulls' opening game of their first-round playoff series with the 76ers, he tore his ACL. Without him, Chicago nose-dived and lost the series

The injury didn't only force Rose to miss the rest of the 2011 postseason, but he also had to watch 2012 go by as he vigorously rehabbed.

The Bulls ended up making it to the second round of the playoffs where they once again fell to the Heat.

Rose finally made his return this year but through 10 games, he was struggling immensely. He looked cautious and hesitant on the knee and was only averaging 16 points a game while shooting 35 percent from the field.

Now, with his season cut short again, the Bulls are back in familiar territory. They have to find a way to win without their best player, but it's different this time around.

They got rid of Nate Robinson from last year, so they have no one to come in and give them the explosiveness and scoring at the point guard position that Rose gave them.

They're stuck but then again, so is Rose. It's very sad to say this because he's only 25 years old and he has such a high ceiling, but I'm afraid he'll never be the same.

His game revolves around explosiveness, frenetic, organized chaos and aggressive drives to the basket. It's a feast or famine style that's not kind on the body and can cause serious wear and tear.

Now, he has to try to channel and maintain that pace on two bad knees. He really has no other choice.

He can't totally change his game mid-way through his career. That's his style; that's what makes him so great.

He's not a shooter; he's not a pure point guard or distributer. He's a "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" kind of guy that puts the team on his back.

With the way the Bulls have constructed their team, that's the only way they have a chance at winning a title. Derrick Rose is their savior. He has to put the team on his shoulders and go nuts.

But sadly, that Derrick Rose may be gone forever. That's a tough pill to swallow, but it's time for the organization to take their medicine.

They have some tough decisions to make. They have to decide if they want to go on with Rose and trust that he'll stay healthy and be his old self again.

If not, they have to figure out some way to trade him. And if they do bring him back, they can no longer depend on him to do everything by himself.

Your team's success and championship aspirations cannot be placed squarely on the wounded knees of Derrick Rose. They have to bring in a star to compliment him whether it's via trade or through free agency.

After all, even Chicago demigod Michael Jordan never won a championship without a little help. He had Scottie Pippen.

Who will Rose get? Carmelo Anthony is out there for the taking. And oh yeah, there's this guy named LeBron James that has an expiring contract down in Miami. The Bulls almost got him last time he was a free agent. Hey, it's worth a shot.