- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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Over the next few weeks, we'll take a closer look at each player on the Bulls roster and see where they fit in for the future.
Position: Point guard. Age: 23. 2011-12 salary: $6,993,707
Season recap: Injuries ravaged Rose's season. He only played in 39 regular season games and never looked quite like himself after dealing with turf toe during the second week of the new year. He dealt with painful groin and back injuries, among others, and ultimately blew out the ACL in his left knee during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Philadelphia 76ers. Rose was as frustrated as he's been in his professional career because of the ongoing injury problems. After an MVP season a year ago, he just couldn't stay on the floor.
Season highlight: After the Bulls were blown out earlier in the year by the Sixers, Rose returned to Philadelphia on March 4 and took over the game at times. He scored 35 points, dished out eight assists and grabbed four rebounds as the Bulls won their sixth game in a row.
Season lowlight: April 28, 2012 is a day Bulls fans will not forget for a long time. It's the day Rose drove to the rim late in Game 1 against the Sixers and blew out his knee.
Notes: Rose had missed just six games combined during his first three years in the league. He missed 27 this year and will miss many more before his probable return next winter. Rose's new max contract, worth close to $100 million kicks in next season.
Quotes: "It's been hard a little bit, I can't lie," Rose said in April. "Missing all these games, playing against great competition. Just playing the game period, just being our there with my teammates, practicing with my teammates. Trying not to distance myself from them by me not playing, just staying around, trying to stay positive, talking to them. It's definitely been hard, but they've been doing a great job with making sure that, making me feel part of the team. Talking with me, calling me, eating with one another, just making me feel good, and I think that's raising my spirits up a little bit, too."
What's next?: Rose has already started back on the long road to recovery. He is expected to miss 8-12 months as he recovers. Rose still hasn't spoken publicly since the injury but his brother, Reggie, has already stated that Derrick won't sit out the entire season. Most people who have been in contact with Rose say he is in good spirits and looking forward to being back on the floor, but nobody is quite sure what kind of player he will be when he returns. Obviously, the Bulls are hoping for the best, but they just don't know how long it will take for him to recover. In the short term, it will kill Rose not to be able to play for Team USA in the Olympics this summer. He was really looking forward to that opportunity.
FINAL GRADES: Regular Season: B. Postseason: N/A