A dreary and overcast afternoon served as a symbolic backdrop for the Chicago Bulls championship aspirations that took a severe blow Saturday. Derrick Rose tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee late in the fourth quarter of Chicago's opening round playoff victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
But Saturday's gloom was replaced the following day by Sunday morning sunshine and also optimism.
The team resumed practice with a renewed focus and with their minds focused on winning it all for their MVP. But the resiliency of the team, the fans and this entire city will be put to the test as everyone comes to grips with 'No. 1' being out for not only the remainder of the playoffs but, at the very least, the first half of the 2012-2013 season.
Recovery time for ACL injuries vary from person to person. The reasonable expectation for Rose to be back in action is at least six to eight months, but how long it takes him to regain his original form is anyone's guess as that phase of the recovery tends to be more mental than physical.
Around the NBA, an outpouring of well wishes was directed the 23-year-old's way via Twitter and in the media. Dallas Mavericks guard Delonte West spoke of Rose's toughness to the Dallas Morning News.
“He's a tough guy from Chicago. Those guys are tough as nails,” said West. “He'll be back to MVP status before you know it.”
Sixers head coach Doug Collins also lent his support and knows first-hand the hard road that lies ahead.
“When I saw the kid go down it crushed me because I happen to love him,” said Collins to the Chicago Tribune.
“He's everything that's right that's in the NBA. I texted Pax [John Paxson] last night, Jerry Reinsdorf, Thibs [Tom Thibodeau] to reach out to let this kid know how I feel about him. I had that same injury. It took a year, basically, but I'm never going to put a timetable on it. It takes time.”
Time. It's the one thing D. Rose didn't have a lot of this season after so many back-to-back injuries.
He was never able to fully recover in the NBA's frantic race to squeeze 66 regular season games into 120 days. The competitor in Derrick pushed hard to come back as quickly as possible to help his team, but now, there is no rush.
Now, he has all the time he needs.