So now what?

In the wake of Derrick Rose's right medial meniscus tear, which will require surgery, the Bulls have some decisions to make. Depending on Rose's recovery time — the point guard is out indefinitely — the championship expectations the team entered this season with haven't been completely extinguished, but given how he missed all of last season recovering from his torn left ACL, there's no reason to believe either Rose himself or the organization will exercise anything other than caution.

Seeing him limp off the floor Friday night in Portland, not under his own power and unable to put any weight on his right leg, then on crutches in the locker room, there was almost a collective sigh of relief that his injury wasn't more serious. At the same time, however, whatever skepticism observers had about Rose returning to his previous, MVP-level form has only been heightened because of his recent pattern of various ailments, dating back to even before he suffered his season-ending injury in the opening game of the 2012 playoffs. Depending on the severity of his tear and the surgery needed to repair it, Rose technically could be back in a few months, but even assuming that's the case, after witnessing him struggle early in the regular season, it's hard to envision him just jumping back into the swing of things and making a major impact on a nightly basis heading into the playoffs.

And in what state would the Bulls be in if and when the Chicago native could make a successful return this season? At least heading into the injury-plagued campaign of a year ago, the Bulls were prepared, and while reinforcements like Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli were considered underwhelming free-agent signings when they were acquired — it's funny how things change, as the pair evolved into fan favorites after rough starts to the season and even with a healthy Rose, Bulls loyalists have pined for their respective presences — there was no question that they were brought in to hold down the fort in Rose's absence, not complement his game.