The final score flashed on the screen: 95-91. A loss. To the Celtics. The old, old, old Celtics. The barely-above-.500 Celtics.
What? These are the mighty Bulls? A shoe-in for the Eastern Conference Finals, at least.
But our hero lies on a table, his back pulsing with pain.
Derrick Rose says his back spasms started bothering him Jan. 29. "I just played through it and the more I played through it, it tended to get worse after every game," Rose told reporters before the game. "At the time I was really worried about it, but [I'm] just trying to stay positive and hopefully I'll be all right."
If your doctor prescribes "staying positive" for back spasms, you're going to the wrong kind of doctor.
A loss to a bad team is no reason to panic. A mystery illness may be. Surely, it's too early in the year to sound the alarm. The team has the best record in the East. And that's with half the team having spent time injured.
It bears repeating that this season is an unusual one. Without the lengthy training camps and with so many games in so few days, injuries are bound to happen. The deepest teams will stand the best shot to hoist the hardware.
So let Rose chill for a few days and reassess the situation. Maybe the Bulls have their own version of Jeremy Lin buried on the bench. And the extra playing time will serve the reserves well when the playoffs roll around.
But in the meantime, just keep staying positive. And pray that the back gets back ... to normal.