Derrick Rose has suffered another major knee injury.
The Chicago Bulls' superstar reported to practice Tuesday with pain in his right knee and a subsequent MRI revealed a tear in his medial meniscus. Surgery will be scheduled, after which a timetable for his return will be established, the team announced.
A torn right medial meniscus tear is the same injury Rose suffered in November 2013, only 10 games after he'd returned following more than a full year off due to a torn left ACL. The initial hope within the organization is that this tear is not as extensive, according to a report from K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
When Rose opted for surgery to repair his previous meniscus tear, it cost him an entire season and it was roughly nine months between surgery and his return to game action for USA Basketball this past summer.
There's also the option to have the torn part of the meniscus surgically removed, which comes with a shorter recovery timeline but leaves the knee more vulnerable to future problems. The team opted for repair rather than removal last time to preserve his long-term health, but it's unclear if that accounting will change this time around.
Entering the season with optimism following his USA Basketball stint, Rose was slowed by myriad issues early on, missing time with ankle sprains, a persistent left hamstring strain and a minor illness.
After a somewhat cold shooting start, Rose had begun rounding into form before the All-Star break only to struggle noticeably over the past few games. It's unclear if those struggles were related to Rose playing through the soreness or just the general ups and downs of an NBA season.
Over 46 games, Rose averaged 18.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and five assists, shooting 40.7 percent from the field and 28.7 percent from long range. His player efficiency rating of 16 was his lowest since his rookie year, save for his 10-game 2013-14 campaign, and the Bulls' overall performance was largely unchanged whether Rose was on the court or off of it.
That shouldn't confuse Rose's value to the Bulls. Chicago's ultimate upside is significantly lower without Rose, and he'll be replaced by lower-ceiling players like Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Brooks. Some of the scoring load can shift to Jimmy Butler and the team's deep frontcourt, but the Bulls will miss their best penetrator and individual shot creator a great deal.
At 36-21, the Bulls stand third in the Eastern Conference, a perch they'll likely fall from in the coming weeks. They remain a deep and talented squad, particularly if they rediscover their defensive stride from years past, but they may no longer pose a serious threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers or even the Atlanta Hawks in the East.
Still just 26 years old, there remains hope that Rose can bounce back from this latest setback, especially since multiple meniscus tears are not entirely uncommon. Mostly, though, this is simply sad for Rose and for basketball fans. At his best, Rose is one of the league's most entertaining and dynamic players, and his third major knee injury in as many years is terribly disappointing.