- Doug Padilla, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- Thursday night’s matchup at the United Center, which had the potential to include the past two players to win an MVP award, won’t come off as planned. And the Miami Heat’s LeBron James is not too thrilled about it.
The Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose, winner of the 2010-11 MVP award, is out of action and likely lost for the season after tearing the meniscus in his right knee two weeks ago in a game at Portland. He had played in just 10 games after returning from an 18-month absence because of a torn left anterior cruciate ligament.
James, who welcomed Rose back to action before the Oct. 29 season opener, was shocked and saddened about Rose’s latest setback.
“I didn’t want to believe it; that was my initial thought. I didn’t want to believe," James said. "I was actually at home watching the game. I was watching the Bulls-Blazers game when it happened. I saw the play. Joakim [Noah] caught it at the elbow and D-Rose went backdoor, and [I] saw him kind of come up gimp.
“I thought maybe he twisted his ankle or something like that at the time. But when I saw them working on him on the sideline, on the bench, it didn’t look good. I was hoping for the best for him, and obviously the news wasn’t the best.”
For perspective on what Rose was going through, though, James said the best person to talk to in the Heat locker room was Greg Oden, who has undergone three microfracture surgeries on his left knee during his injury-riddled career.
“I know [Dwayne] Wade has had his fair share of knee injuries, but he’s been able to come back,” James said. “He has dealt with the pain over the years. But to have a knee injury, get back, have another, I think Greg, on our team, can relate to it. I can’t relate to it.”
While some have questions as to whether Rose can return to being an elite NBA player, James is sure his Eastern Conference foe can return to form.
“No doubt,” James said. “He’s very young, but more than that he’s very determined. I think he’s going to be great.”