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The Rose-pocalypse
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It's over and the sad thing is, it hadn't even really started yet.

For the second year in a row, the Chicago Bulls are being forced to call an audible. The team announced Monday that star point guard Derrick Rose will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his torn meniscus.

How many times can one human being devastate an entire city? Well, by my count about once every 18 months. That means the next Rose-pocalypse can be tentatively scheduled for May of 2015.

By then, will it even matter anymore?

The Bulls are fading faster than Denver's lead last night in Foxboro. At 6-6 through their first 12 games, they're barely staying afloat in the perpetually mediocre Eastern Conference. Atlanta, Charlotte and Toronto are just a sampling of teams ahead of them in the standings.

And that was WITH Rose. Where they go from here is anyone's guess.

Kirk Hinrich will be asked to run the point while Rose recovers, a prospect that excites no one apart from Hinrich himself. Chicago's goggle-sporting veteran has connected on just 37.8 percent of his field goals since 2012. His scoring output over that span has been meager to say the least (7.8 ppg in 72 contests).

Though Carlos Boozer's and Luol Deng's roles could expand with Rose gone, it isn't likely to have a significant impact on their fantasy production. Take a look at how Boozer and Deng performed with Rose in 2011-12 compared to without him last season.

2011-12: Boozer 15.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.9 apg, Deng 15.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.9 apg

2012-13: Boozer 16.2 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 2.3 apg, Deng 16.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.0 apg

The difference was negligible. Boozer and Deng may have been looked at as go- to scorers earlier in their careers but that's not in their makeup now. They're role players and they know it. Maybe it's time fantasy owners realize it as well.

The Bulls just don't have an explosive scorer that can take Rose's place. Jimmy Butler has 20-point potential but not while he's in a walking boot (sprained toe). Mike Dunleavy has a 19 ppg season on his resume but that came almost six years ago. He's reached 20 points just once in his last 87 games.

Nate Robinson, a 5-foot-9 ball of energy with the body of a football player (probably because he played football in college), was born for this kind of opportunity. He's fast, fearless and an excellent shooter from beyond the arc. Too bad the Bulls let him walk when he became a free agent last summer.

Perhaps Rose's injury was to be expected. It's common for athletes to overcompensate when they're dealing with an injury and it was pretty clear Rose was doing that with his right knee. The left knee was the one Rose tore back in 2012.

Even in the ten games Rose played before his knee gave out, he didn't look like the old Rose. His scoring average (15.9 ppg) was almost ten points lower than the one he posted during his MVP campaign in 2011 (25.0) while his assist numbers were just as pedestrian (4.3 apg).

The only aspect of Rose's game that seemed to improve was his three-point shooting (career-high 34.0 percent).

Is that what Rose has been reduced to: a glorified spot-up shooter? This guy was one of the best athletes in the league. Now he's settling for jump shots.

Things are only going to get worse for Chicago. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Zach Randolph, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are all going to be free agents next summer. Think any of them would want to venture to the Windy City after this news? Not a chance.

Deng is also set to hit the market in 2014. And just like the others, there's little incentive for him to stay in Chicago. Without Rose, the Bulls are nothing more than a five or six seed. If they're lucky, they'll make it to round two before inevitably being swept by Miami or Indiana.

And that poses yet another dilemma. The Bulls are essentially trapped. Their roster as currently constructed isn't good enough to win a championship, but they're not bad enough to be a lottery team.

If Chicago was ever going to crash and burn, this would be the year to do it. Next year's projected top-five with Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Dante Exum and Marcus Smart, is as strong as any we've seen in the lottery era. Yet the Bulls won't come close to landing any of them.

The fact that Rose is having his meniscus repaired rather than removed is at least a little encouraging. Dwyane Wade has associated his own deterioration to having the ligament removed when he was in college. But that's little consolation for a Bulls team that got blown out by 39 points Sunday at Staples Center.

With 70 games left on the schedule, the Bulls' season is far from over. But their championship window might be.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Jesse Pantuosco at jpantuosco@sportsnetwork.com.

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