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Derrick Rose is quite the sports figure in Chicago: a native son who was supposed to lead his hometown team to its first title since the Michael Jordan era.

But injuries have gotten in the way, most recently a meniscus tear that has set back his season and has certainly hurt the Bulls' prospects in a year many believed they'd be right near the top.

Recently, Chicago artists David Beltran and Brendan Carroll put up this mural and collection of items as something of a memorial for their fallen star (they also held a vigil for him Sunday afternoon):

#pray4rose

A photo posted by @baecutler on

#pray4rose

A photo posted by @baecutler on

That is some bold imagery for a basketball player who is still alive, just hurt, and whose career has not been deemed over.

To talk about the mural -- and to address some of the concerns -- Beltran joined ESPN 1000 in Chicago on Monday:

Does Beltran consider the crown-of-thorns mural, which was put up beneath Interstate 90 in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood, blasphemous?

"To be honest, not really," he said. "For us it was a lighthearted tribute [especially because] when you go on the Internet, people are just sitting behind their computers saying whatever they want.

"We really didn't think about it as far as offending anyone; as far as legalities go, [it's] freedom of speech.

"It's a big deal. It's the third injury, it's a big deal for our city. I had really thought this was our year and I think everyone could agree on that."

UPDATE: Rose, speaking to reporters before the Bulls' game Monday night, was far from offended (he had not heard about it before he was asked).

"How can I be mad, or upset or devastated about anything?" Rose said. "I know I've got people out there that really love me and really care about me as a person."

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The news shook the NBA on Tuesday night: Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, the former NBA MVP who since has been afflicted by multiple injuries, once again needs surgery -- once again for a torn meniscus in his right knee.

Rose is liked throughout the league, meaning fellow players were quick to send their well wishes:

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Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

2014-15 NBA schedule released

The 2014-15 NBA schedule is here, with some pretty sweet matchups highlighting the season's big days. The opening-night slate comprises Dallas Mavericks-San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets-Los Angeles Lakers. On Christmas, the Cleveland Cavaliers make their first trip to Miami since LeBron James left the Heat, while Western Conference titans Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs square off in Texas. It's all part of a regular season that promises to be compelling.

  • Which NBA opening-night game are you most looking forward to?

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  • If you were a Heat fan, how would you welcome LeBron James when the Cavaliers play in Miami on Dec. 25?

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  • Which player's return from injury in 2014-15 is more intriguing?

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Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

Will Rose, Bulls be big in 2014-15?

Derrick Rose apparently is dazzling in Team USA training. Not only is he throwing down big dunks, but also has assistant Jim Boeheim calling him the "most impressive guy here." This is potentially big news for a former NBA MVP who has missed almost two full seasons with multiple injuries. Will he return to form? How will the Bulls, currently a top contender with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East, fare in 2014-15?

Will Derrick Rose return to pre-injury form?

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  • Where will Derrick Rose rank among best NBA players in 2014-15?

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  • How will the Bulls fare in 2014-15?

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  • Which team will win the NBA's Eastern Conference in 2014-15?

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  • Which team will win the NBA championship in 2014-15?

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