**UPDATE: As expected, Derrick Rose opted to repair his meniscus and will miss the rest of the 2013-14 NBA season.**
Derrick Rose sat out the entire 2012-13 season with a torn ACL in his left knee. Now he has a torn meniscus in his right knee and is out indefinitely. How will the Bulls do without him?
First of all, let's tackle the question of how long Rose will be out. According to USA today, Rose will have surgery on Monday, and the extent of his injury won't be known until that happens. If the surgeons attempt to repair Rose's meniscus, Rose could be out from 4-6 months; if they elect to simply remove it, the estimated recovery time is 6-8 weeks. Of course, these recovery times are only estimates -- last year it only took the Artest formerly known as Ron 12 days to return from a torn meniscus. But my money is on Rose attempting to repair the meniscus if he can, so we should probably expect him back later rather than sooner.
Then there's the question of how the loss of Rose impacts the Bulls. So far this season Rose has been terrible. Not only is he last on the Bulls in terms of wins, he's also last in the entire league. That's what happens when you average 25 FGA/48 while posting an eFG% of 40% and combine it with 5.2 TO/48.
Now there is a chance that Rose would've improved as the season went along; in fact, his Points over Par (PoP) were trending in that direction:
But that doesn't change the past. When Rose played this year, he was terrible, and it's very unlikely that the Bulls will fill his minutes with someone who will perform even worse. After all, only two players who have played 130+ minutes have performed worse on a per-minute basis. So in the short term, Rose being out would seemingly help the Bulls. Kirk Hinrich can go back to being a point guard and Mike Dunleavy and Mike James will get more minutes.
The bigger problem for the Bulls is that they'll also be missing Jimmy Butler for a couple of weeks, and Butler has been the team's top performer for the season so far. Dunleavy and Hinrich were already set to see an increase in minutes before Rose's latest injury, so that means that the additional minutes are probably going to have to come from James and three players who haven't seen very many NBA minutes: Marquis Teague, Tony Snell, and Erik Murphy. Teague is in his second year, but has only played just over 400 minutes in his career; Snell and Murphy are rookies and have just over 20 NBA minutes between the two of them. And unfortunately for the Bulls, none of these three players have played well in their very brief time on the court.
The good news for the Bulls is that, even with these two injuries, they still have seven relatively productive players on their roster. As long as these seven players get the bulk of the team's minutes, Chicago will do okay in the weak Eastern Conference. But it's probably safe to say that our season preview -- which counted on Rose largely resembling his old self for 3000 minutes -- and 50 wins are probably not going to come to fruition this year.
Of course, we sorta called that one. And it won't be the last time, either.