Derrick Rose knows all about injuries that can derail a season.
Heck, injuries that can alter a career.
That’s why the Bulls point guard was using words like “devastating’’ in discussing the left shoulder injury to teammate Joakim Noah on Friday night.
As first expected, the Bulls announced on Saturday that the MRI showed a dislocation that will require surgery. Noah was likely to be on the shelf for the next four-to-six months, which is not only a season-ender for the veteran big man, but could close the book on his career with the Bulls as he’s headed to free agency this summer.
“It hurt,’’ Rose said, when asked what it was like seeing Noah in the locker room following the injury. “It hurt just knowing how hard he works, how hard he wants to be on the court, how much he means to this team. It’s devastating, but we have to come back in here and make sure the guys are ready. Everybody has to be ready, but you never know. He’s a big piece, he’s a big piece.’’
Rose was right. Noah has been a big piece – in the past.
This season, however, not as much, losing his starting spot midway through training camp, with first-year coach Fred Hoiberg opting to have Noah come off the bench and work with the second unit.
Basically, the first domino to fall in what has been a rocky year for Noah.
The Sun-Times reported earlier this week that, according to a source, Noah was still very unhappy with his standing in the organization, and “still hasn’t moved past losing his starting job.’’ The source went onto say that Noah “hasn’t been a distraction by any means, but isn’t the biggest Hoiberg fan these days.’’
It was not the first time Noah’s unhappiness was whispered about this season, with Noah feeling like he would be better served as a starter, or at least on the court more often in crunch-time.
Privately, the Bulls were hoping that winning games would have cured Noah’s woes, but that wasn’t happening.
Then in a Dec. 21 game against Brooklyn, Noah first injured the left shoulder, suffering a small tear. He missed the next nine games, watching the Bulls go 7-2 without him, and becoming the subject of heated trade talks.
Ideally, the Bulls were hoping that Noah would perform to the level he was playing at right before the Brooklyn game, continue to up his stock, and then move the remaining $13.4 million left on this season’s deal. With the emergence of Bobby Portis, as well as Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic, the thought was a surplus of bigs made Noah expendable.
“Man, anything can happen up here, man,’’ Rose said of how this will affect the team. “We’re saying that now this year. That’s something that we never thought would happen. He’s a big piece of our team, and he is going to miss awhile now since it’s dislocated, and we’ve just got to find a way to grind games out. Throughout the game, just find ways to maintain the lead, and play that way.’’