CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose crumbled to the floor, clutching his left knee. His season is over and the Bulls' title hopes just might be finished, too.
Rose will miss the rest of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee late in Chicago's 103-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Saturday's playoff opener, casting a big cloud over a team eyeing a championship run.
He scored 23 points and was playing more like the league's reigning MVP after missing 27 games because of injuries during the regular season, but his injury-plagued season came to an end as the Bulls were wrapping up an impressive victory.
Rose crumbled to the ground after he drove the lane with about 1:20 left and the Bulls leading by 12. He was going for a layup when he came to a jump-stop and seemed to change his mind as the 76ers' Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen rotated over, passing off to a teammate before an awkward landing.
Team medical personnel immediately rushed out and tended to Rose for several minutes as he was writhing in pain near the baseline before helping him to the locker room. Rose was taken to the hospital, and the results of the MRI were not good.
Whether Rose should have been in the game at that point figures to be debated for a long time around Chicago. He checked back in with just under eight minutes left and the lead got as high as 20 shortly after that before the Sixers chipped away at it.
With Philadelphia making a push, coach Tom Thibodeau decided to stay with Rose.
"I don't work backward like you guys do," Thibodeau said. "The score was going the other way."
Veteran guard Richard Hamilton defended the decision, saying, "Philly was making a run. In playoff basketball, you never want to give a team confidence. ... When you have a team down, you have to try to keep them down. They made a little run so we needed guys that could put the ball in the basket."
Sixers coach Doug Collins also had Thibodeau's back.
"He knows what he's doing coaching his team," Collins said. "Thibs is my buddy. I have the ultimate respect for him. From his standpoint he wanted to finish that game for what he did. It's awful that Derrick got hurt."