You could sense the Chicago Bulls were in trouble when team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf — grim-faced, head down and avoiding eye contact — whisked down the corridor of the bowels of the United Center and entered the Bulls’ locker room on Saturday (April 28).
Minutes earlier, the Bulls had defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 103-91 in the series opener of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
You could sense the Bulls were in trouble because Reinsdorf was moving better and faster than reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose, who was helped off the court and into the locker room after he fell to the ground with 1:20 left in the game. The Bulls committed a foul to stop the clock with 1:10 to go so that the Bulls’ medical staff could attend to Rose.
At the time, the severity of Rose’s injury was unknown. At 5:24 p.m., the Bulls sent out an email: “Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and he is out for the remainder of the season.”
Well, any delusions of winning an NBA crown this season needed major adjustments after that news broke.
If Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and Rose’s teammates didn’t know the extent of the injury to his left knee in the game’s immediate aftermath, they were well aware how bad it could be.
The locker room had a funereal feel. It was hard to imagine a more somber scene in a winning locker room.
“It”s time to step up like we’ve been doing all year,” Bulls reserve guard John Lucas III said. Lucas did not play in Game 1 but figures to see significant minutes the rest of the series as C.J. Watson moves into the starting lineup to replace Rose.
“We have been through this before,” reserve forward Taj Gibson said. “John LUcas and C.J. step it up and play well. Guys are always ready to step it up for their teammates.”
Thibodeau was asked about having Rose on the court with a 14-point lead so late in the game.
“I do not work backwards like you [media] guys,” he said. “The score was going the other way. He’s got to play.”
Well, he probably won’t be playing again until possibly February next season.
Said Sixers coach Doug Collins: “Tom Thibodeau is coach of the year. He was last year, and he is this year. He knows what he’s doing coaching his team. Thibs is my buddy. I have the ultimate respect for him.”
And now, it would appear, the Bulls have the ultimate challenge of reaching their ultimate goal — the franchise’s seventh NBA title — without Rose.
As depressing as the whole aftermath of the game may have been for folks, imagine what it was like for those of us who had to miss Chicago Bliss Lingerie Football League tryouts to attend the Bulls game. Oh, the humanity! Which is why we have provided a photo of Heather Furr, an all-fantasy player from the Bliss. She is officially an all-fantasy player. Not to be confused with the folks who regard any LFL player in a fantasy category.
In an effort to provide something positive regarding the Bulls, the editorial staff at ElliottHarris.com has decided to go with a video featuring the Luvabulls.
And now for some postgame videos — before the news that Rose was out for the season:
For those whose hearts are heavy with the news regarding Rose, here are some heavyweights — the Matadors, the all-male dance team — to help lighten your burden. Let the record show the Bulls are 8-0 this season when the Matadors perform. Hey, at this point, the Bulls might want to employ any and all techniques to try to prolong their postseason run.
If things go according to plan (and every once in a while they actually do), there will be more Luvabulls videos in a posting later Sunday. Possibly more video from the recent C2E2, too. You never know. OK, more like: I never know. But you get the picture. Or video, as the case may be.
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