It was a year ago, on April 28, 2012, when Derrick Rose suffered a knee injury that is still being felt by the organization, its fan base and the entire NBA.
There was 1:19 remaining in the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals when Rose drove into the lane and jump-stopped. The grimace on his face was immediate as he tried to jump for a shot before crashing to the court holding his left knee.
The United Center fell silent as the worse was expected and later verified. Rose tore his ACL and would undergo surgery on May 12. The Bulls won Game 1 but would go on to lose to the eighth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in six games.
The prognosis was for Rose to take 8-12 months to rehabilitate and the process seemed to be going according to plan as periodic reports reflected steady progress. From doing basketball drills to practicing to taking full contact to scrimmaging five-on-five starting on Feb.18, Rose appeared poised to return after the All-Star break.
But suddenly the possibility that he wouldn't return this season started to surface in stories and interviews, and now it appears almost certain he won't be back at all this season.
ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell talked to many of those who were present at the time of the injury, and here are their stories:
"I just remember being up like 20 points and thinking we were going to win the championship. Even when he went down, it was weird but in my mind I was like, 'He could be out for a couple weeks and we'll be alright. We'll be ready for him to come back.'
"I even remember after the game I went to the Berto Center to go get some ice and get some treatment, I never do that, I was just so into it and then when I heard the news ... it was just hard. You know how hard we work every day, so to see him go down like that was tough. Not just for us as players but for the whole city."
When you first saw him on the ground what were you thinking?
"I just wanted to be there. Any time one of my teammates goes down I just try to be there for them. I didn't know how bad it was going to be. My mindset was more on just finishing the game and seeing him after."
How did you find out?
"My uncle called me. I can't believe I remember all this."
What was it like when you saw him the next day?
"It was hard, man. It was hard. I don't even like talking about it to be honest with you.
"It was a dark day. It was a dark day for us. We won that playoff game but Derrick getting hurt -- I'll probably remember that day for the rest of my life."
(Long pause) "Truthfully, it was just sad, man. I couldn't really believe it. I was hoping it wasn't that serious but it was. Seeing him cry in the locker room, that was tough because he knew what happened already. It was tough, man. It's tough to talk about."
Did you know when he went down?
"No, I didn't know. I was just hoping it wasn't that bad. Honestly, I thought it was his ankle or something and then I realized he said it was his knee, so I was just hoping it wasn't that bad to be honest."
What was that locker room like?
"It was depressing, man. It was one of the saddest locker rooms -- we just won the game -- and it was one of the saddest locker rooms I might have ever been in."
What was the next day like for you?
"Tough, man. We really just met for a couple minutes, walked through a couple things and got out of there because everybody was down still. It was kind of like a ... it was just depressing, man."
"I was right in front of our bench and I saw him come down awkwardly and I just knew what he did -- I saw the way his leg buckled -- because I had that injury. And so I knew immediately.
"... I knew he hurt his knee and I was very sad. Obviously, it changed the playoff picture in our favor. They also lost Noah in Game 3, but Derrick Rose is a shining star and a bright light in the NBA and we miss him. He plays the game the way you're supposed to play it every night. He plays to win. He's a hometown kid who loves being in Chicago and representing his city. He's got a great family. And I'm one of these guys, I want to see the best players on the floor and so I hope he's going to be healthy soon and get back out there. Will that affect us? Yeah. But that kid needs to be out there playing basketball. He's special."
"I remember it like it was yesterday. He was in the game, we talked about the game scheme, drew up a play for him to break down the defense and probably get a running hook, running floater -- he went down the lane, got a running floater, and just came down wrong. I was hoping it wasn't even his knee. I thought it was his ankle. He always had bad ankle problems, but he hurt his knee. We got a great win but the look on everybody's face wasn't even happy about the win. We were more like hoping that he's OK. You never want to see a teammate go out like that. But just the reaction when we got the news ... most of the guys just ran in the training room and we went into the training room and you didn't see him but we saw him come out with that disappointment look on his face it was surreal and we knew that it was something serious. That's what I remember the most."
"I just remember his face when he came out of the X-ray room and everybody was just shaking their head. It was like one of those scenes -- you're there but you don't know what's going on, but you know something was bad happening. It was one of those reactions, the whole locker room was just quiet, we heard people moving around but you hardly heard people say anything. That was crazy."
What was it like the next day?
"The next day was mellow. It was like you come in, it was quiet, real mellow and quiet. The only thing you mostly heard was the basketball. Guys just came in there and we got the news about how he was and it was cool because guys understood what they had to do but at the same time we really didn't understand like, 'What's the gameplan now?' How we got to adjust, we got to draw up different plays, we got to do different things like that. But guys were still like, 'Damn.' At the same time they were like, 'What could we have done differently? Maybe the second unit could have played a little harder, we wouldn't have had to worry about putting him back in the game.'"
"It was just a lot of stuff going on but then he was like, 'You got to man up. You got to get ready for the next game.' Things like this happen every day. But it was just tough because you go through a whole year of ups and downs, ups and downs, ups and downs, and get another blow like that to your teammate, you're like, 'Wow,' that was crazy. "
Sixers guard -- and Chicago native -- Evan Turner
"I think as big an icon as D-Rose has been to basketball and in the NBA and in Chicago, you're talking about a kid that's always been admired ... I root for every Chicago kid because you're putting on for the city and you inspire the younger kids coming up, (the injury) is traumatizing to a community. Chicago is on his back so you see him go down definitely is horrible because he's a pro's pro. You like watching him, you like seeing what he does, performing, so that was hard to watch, too."
What do you remember from that moment?
"I just thought he pulled a muscle because he didn't really react. I hear when people tear an ACL they start screaming and stuff. He didn't react or anything so I said he probably just caught a cramp because he's been playing off and on and that was it. I just figured nothing bad had happened, he never really got hurt before and then when it came out he tore his ACL, I was shocked because he didn't have any reaction."
"What I remember was there was excitement about the playoffs starting and us feeling that we had put ourselves in a position to make a run. And then we're sitting there just a short time away from winning Game 1 and knowing that every playoff game, that's the most important game you play, so we were going to have a 1-0 advantage.
"And then watching Derrick go down -- from that moment on I was just kind of numb -- because you knew it was bad when you saw him on the floor. And then the rest of the day was going to the hospital, staying with him and around him, and understanding that it was bad. And it was hard not to think about what that meant for our basketball team, but numb's the word to describe how I felt that day."
"I remember when he first went down, because he had had several injuries during the year I thought ... I didn't have a good angle so I initially thought he had landed on someone's foot or sprained an ankle, I couldn't see that there was no one around. But then when I saw it on the TV, because we have a TV where we sit, then it was scary seeing him go down with nobody around. And then I just remember leaving the hospital and driving home and it just felt numb. That was about it."