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Joakim Noah Says Watching Derrick Rose Tear His ACL Was Like 9/11


When Derrick Rose tore his ACL in 2012, the hopes of the Chicago Bulls returning to the top ended. The 2011 NBA MVP was still young, just started his career, and the future looked incredibly bright for him

Unfortunately, injuries prevented him from fulfilling his potential, leaving the Bulls helpless against the powerhouses Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2010s. Now Rose is part of the New York Knicks, where he's done excellent, stepping up for his team whenever they need him and building something good in the Big Apple. 

It remains a big 'what-if' what would have happened if Derrick never got injured. He has repeatedly stated he's happy with his career and life. Still, the entire NBA world knows he could have been something even more special should injuries never hit him. 

People keep wondering what could have been for that Rose and those Bulls, including his former teammates. When he went down with a torn ACL in 2012, everybody was shocked. Joakim Noah, one of Rose's partners on those Bulls, recently reflected on how big it was to lose Derrick on the court in such a terrible way. 

Talking with ESPN's Zach Lowe, the French big man remembered his time in the Windy City and how tragic it was to see his teammate suffer serious injuries when they looked like championship candidates. 

Chicago earned the No. 1 seed in 2011-12, boasting the league's fattest point differential and the best offense of the Thibodeau era. But up by 12 late in Game 1 of the first round, Rose tore his left ACL.

The Bulls never regained their standing. There would be no epic rivalry with Miami. "We really believed we were gonna win that championship," Noah says. "That was our time. Derrick represented that much hope. Every time he stepped onto the court, we had the most special player in the world. That's a lot of hope to carry on one person."

Rose, still among Noah's closest friends, was never the same.

"When I found out Derrick tore his ACL, I remember the smells, who I was with, evеrything," Noah says. "I had the same feeling of when I saw the plane hit the tower [on Sept. 11, 2001]. People will be like, 'He's crazy for saying that.' No. I'm telling you how I felt."

Yes, a lot of people will put a weird face when they read that part, but that only explains how difficult and traumatizing that experience was. After that moment, any hope of dynasty for those Bulls ended, and Derrick's career never was the same. 

He tried to return to his old level, but more injuries attacked him when we saw a glimpse of his best version. Unfortunately, things didn't go well for him and his team, who traded him in 2016 to the New York Knicks. 

He embraced a different role in New York, Cleveland, Minnesota and Detroit. Rose never became the superstar people wanted him to be, but he showed that he could fight back and earn his spot in the league. His story is one of the most inspiring in the association and it's great to see him compete with the Knicks, a team with a similar story to Derrick.