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SportsMonday: Derrick Rose Will Never Be The Same

I wasn't even tuned in the moment Chicago sports died.

I had bowed out of watching the Bulls knock off the 76ers a little earlier (when the game was in hand, of course) to prepare for the youth baseball game I was coaching later Saturday afternoon. (I know that as a sports commentator I shouldn't have done that - but it was for the kids!) And so I didn't see the play when Derrick Rose's knee gave out on him.

But I've seen the video and I know exactly what Kendall Gill was talking about right after the game when he said he was just about sure that Rose had torn his ACL. (It wasn't long thereafter that sources with the team confirmed it). There is a certain kind of jump stop, one I watched a long ago Glenbrook South High School point guard execute from only a few rows up, where when they subsequently go down clutching their knee you just know it's the ACL.

And just like that Chicago's best sporting hopes and dreams went up in flames. And they are probably gone forever. Because even if Rose can come back and be a star again - and let's hear it for modern sports medicine giving us legitimate hopes - Rose won't be the same kind of star.

He won't be the beautifully high-flying, twisting, magical force who could seemingly bank in a layup no matter how tall or wide-ranging the defensive obstacle in his way. When Rose returns later this year or early next, he will almost certainly play a different game.

While it will be a winning game (as in winning more than losing, not in terms of winning championships - although that will certainly be possible), it probably won't be spectacular.

So what is a fan to do at this point? I must say that I am definitely not ready to join the conversation about how far the Bulls can go without Rose (except to note that they can still beat anyone in the Eastern Conference except for the Heat). I am still grieving.

Perhaps at this point we can put to bed the notion that coach Tom Thibodeau was partly responsible for Rose's injury because he still had him on the court late in the game with a comfortable lead.

The fact is that Rose's health was a ticking time bomb. You can't suffer injuries to a knee, an ankle, a toe - all in one ridiculously compressed season - and not be at significant risk of breaking down even further. Rose had way too much instability in his legs for fans to feel confident about him making it through the playoffs without hurting something worse. If he didn't get hurt in the last minute of Game 1, he was going to get hurt in whatever minute of Game 2 or 3 or whenever.

One thing I worry about here is that the famously reclusive Thibodeau, whose only constant contact seems to be with whatever digital viewing system he uses to study video (as opposed to having consistent contact with friends or family), will get the wrong idea.

I hope he takes in enough reaction to know that there are at least as many voices out there saying that he bears absolutely no blame for Rose's injury than there are voices saying this is on him.

Now Derrick's shoes . . . a Nike shoe designer insinuated that Rose's Adidas might have played a role in his knee buckling. We have a scapegoat!

I'm on board with it being the shoes.

Forget protesting NATO, let's organize a march to Adidas headquarters! Just make sure someone brings a map.


Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

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