Deep Sympathy for Derrick Rose, the Bulls’ Star-Crossed Star

The New York Times—February 25, 2015

The cloud of uncertainty that had engulfed Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls since 2012 was beginning to recede. Then came the news late Tuesday night that Rose — a former N.B.A. rookie of the year and most valuable player — would need his third major knee operation in less than three years.

The injury, the Bulls said, was a torn medial meniscus in his right knee, the same injury that cut short his 2013-14 season after only 10 games. During the 2011-12 playoffs, Rose sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and did not return for 549 days.
One question that lingered was whether Rose, 26, would elect to have the damaged tissue repaired or would decide to have part or all of the tissue removed. The choice could drastically change his recovery period.

Dr. Robert Marx, an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, said the recovery time could be as short as a few weeks if part of the meniscus tissue was removed. When the meniscus is repaired with sutures — the procedure Rose underwent last season — the recovery could take up to six months.

Marx, who has not examined Rose, emphasized that such timetables varied from case to case, depending on many factors.

In regard to long-term health, repairing the meniscus — and, in general, preserving as much of the tissue as possible — is preferable to removing some or all of it.

“If you remove a lot of the meniscus, over time the chance of arthritis goes up,” Marx said.

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