- Melissa Isaacson, espnW.com
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Calling Derrick Rose's torn medial meniscus in his right knee "a freak injury," Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman said Tuesday the team is "positioned well" and has no immediate plans to make dramatic changes to the roster.
"With this type of injury, he should come back 100 percent," Forman said by phone with ESPNChicago.com, a day after Rose had surgery that will sideline him the rest of the season. "With the previous [ACL] injury, that leg is strong and we saw the explosiveness and reactivity and speed, and then it was just [a matter of] getting into rhythm.
"Though this is a severe injury, it's not as severe as the other. He'll get over it and be able to get his career back to the highest level."
Saying Rose is "really out" for the season, despite the Bulls' potential postseason activity, Forman said it is premature to talk about potential trades or, as much as the team's fan base and media have suggested, re-building.
"This just happened. It's too early to start to go down that road," Forman said. "From an organizational standpoint, our front office, not just this year but every year, we always evaluate our team, where we're at, how we can get better. ...
"We're not going to make rash decisions. We feel we have a bright future ahead and we're positioned well. We have good players in their 20s, Derrick is going to come back, we're positioned well with draft picks into the future and we have some level of flexibility which we haven't had under this new CBA."
Forman said the experience the players gained from being without Rose last season and still taking the Miami Heat to five games in the second round of the playoffs gives the organization confidence that the "team culture," led by coach Tom Thibodeau, gives it a chance to be competitive in the postseason again.
Does the team have the physical stamina, however, to do it a second year in a row?
"I know we have the makeup and character in that locker room," Forman said. "I know guys will continue to work."
Asked again if the franchise is still confident it can build its team around Rose, Forman did not hesitate.
"Yeah, he's obviously a big, big part of our future," he said. "This was a freak injury. According to doctors, it had nothing to do with over-compensating or any type weakness or any type of fatigue. It was just a freak injury."
Bulls forward Luol Deng said Wednesday there is a much better chance of him being traded than he did when Rose was still healthy.
"That's part of the [deal]," he said before Wednesday's shootaround as the Bulls prepared for their game against Detroit. "Since I've been in the league it's always -- every year it's a possibility [of being dealt], anything can happen. It's unfortunate we're going through what we're going through but it is what it is. It happens. You got to deal with it. But in terms of things changing, you can't worry about that as a player."
Deng acknowledged that it is difficult for a team to go from having championship expectations -- Rose returning this season had a lot to do with that -- to facing an uncertain future.
"It's definitely there," Deng said of the chatter. "I don't know if you would call it a distraction, it's almost -- it's disturbing. But it is what it is. I think it's part of what we do. [Rose's injury] happened. It's going to create a tension, right reason, wrong reason, whatever it is. But in terms of player's [mentalities] I think you've got to have the same drive and the same work ethic and the same belief you did before. It's just a situation you can't handle either way so you just got to do what you can."
2dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann