Derrick Rose, the reigning Most Valuable Player in the National Basketball Association, ended his season after tearing a knee ligament during the Chicago Bulls’ playoff victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Rose, 23, had scored 23 points when he jumped to a stop after driving the lane and landed awkwardly with 70 seconds remaining in the first playoff game at the United Center. The team’s medical crew worked on him while he lay on the court in pain.
“Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and he is out for the remainder of the season,” the team said in a statement released after the game.
Rose, who averaged 21.8 points and 3.4 rebounds this season, had been plagued with injuries. He missed 27 of the team’s 66 regular-season games.
“I was like, ‘oh, here we go again,’” said Bulls forward Taj Gibson, who had seven points. “It’s been up and down all year long. He was looking good, looking good in practice and he had such a good game, defensively and offensively. It’s tough to lose your leader.”
Rose, who needed only one rebound and one assist for a triple-double, came back into the game with about eight minutes remaining as the 76ers began to push back.
76ers Make Run
“I don’t work backward like you guys do,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said, defending his decision to keep Rose in. “The score was going the other way.”
Guard Richard Hamilton, who had 19 points, said the Bulls needed to keep the 76ers from advancing too far.
“Philly was making a run,” Hamilton said. “In playoff basketball, you never want to give a team confidence. When you have a team down, you have to try to keep them down. They made a little run so we needed guys that could put the ball in the basket.”
The Bulls, the top seed in the Eastern Conference, never trailed after taking a 4-3 lead. Luol Deng scored 17 and Joakim Noah had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Elton Brand scored 19 points to lead eighth-seeded Philadelphia.
Chicago hosts Game 2 in the best-of-seven, first-round series on May 1.