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Derrick Rose returned to regular season NBA action on October 29 after sitting out all of last season while tending to a torn ACL in his left knee. In late November, less than a month later, Rose went down again with what was confirmed to be a torn meniscus in his right knee—an injury that will make a return this year impossible and puts a damper on his future as an NBA

Just three years removed from winning Most Valuable Player, Rose struggled in the games that he did play. The season-high for the 20.8 points per game career scorer was only 20 points. Rose had been struggling in all aspects, not once reaching the 10 assist mark in a game. Rose showed some sparks, such as a game-winning floater against the New York Knicks early in the season, but seemed to have fallen from his lofty heights at the beginning of his comeback.

The Bulls had been hoping that Rose’s return would spark them back to the top of the conference—last time Rose played, the Bulls were the number one seed.  Now they will just be hoping that he can make a full recovery by the start of next season.  Junior Caitlin Hutson sees a strong return for the Bulls star, believing that “[Rose] can make a full recovery.”

Not everyone is convinced of Rose’s ability to bounce back from a second season-ending and possibly career-threatening injury. Senior Nabeel Mirza predicted that “Rose will go the way of [Greg] Oden and [Brandon] Roy, being in and out of the league after a string of injuries.”

Undoubtedly, Rose’s future is still up in the air. While the Bulls and most players around the league are hoping for a successful return for Rose, players who suffer such debilitating injuries generally aren’t the same player after they return.

The Bulls will also need to adjust their strategy following Rose’s injury. The Bulls offense is built around Derrick Rose. “Without [their] top option, the Bulls…will struggle,” commented junior Mahzain Malik, also adding that “major changes” need to be made if the Bulls want to contend this season.

In such a weak Eastern Conference, the Bulls should be able to secure a playoff spot with a .500 record. While they will continue to play, the return of Derrick Rose will be on the forefront of their minds for the rest of the season.