In the end, whenever that moment truly comes for Derrick Rose's career, all of us will be left with a brutal fact: One of the most promising careers in NBA history will have soured and turned into one of its most disappointing.

This is certain. It's only the timing that remains fluid. As Rose continues to be absent from the Cleveland Cavaliers amid reports of soul searching, injury, lost passion and vicious uncertainty, what really matters happened more than five years ago. Today, in this moment, it's all over but the whimper, whether that comes this week, or next, or in a year, or in five.

Life, even in basketball, isn't fair. It certainly has not been to Rose.

The 2011-12 season served as a preview of what was to come, as the NBA's reigning MVP missed 27 of 66 Bulls games with various injuries. In Game 1 of the playoffs, against the Philadelphia 76ers, he tore the ACL in his left knee. And that was it, the end of the greatness, and the beginning of this shell of what D-Rose was supposed to be.

We didn't know it then, or we failed, like Rose the past few years, to admit it. But a shining career, an all-time bright light for the game, had been extinguished too soon. What was left was just an echo.

In 2013, upon his return, Rose played 10 games before tearing his meniscus. Then he tore it again in 2015. By the time last season that he was skipping a Knicks game without permission for personal reasons, the Rose of his rookie season was no more a reality than the Tiger Woods that once changed golf. There was also the rape accusation, the trial, the jury's decision in a civil trial that the allegations against Rose and two friends were not credible -- all serving as a tawdry, ugly question mark that further eroded any memory of Rose the Promised One. Even without a conviction -- even if it's not fair -- some accusations change the way we view our athletes.