Coming off one of the most amazing and memorable seasons, Derrick Rose has plummeted back to earth. What effect has his most recent injury had on the Bulls' post-season and seasons to follow? After missing only 6 games in the previous 3 seasons, Rose has missed 40% of the 2011-12 season, 27 of a possible 67 games. After intense anticipation of his return in time for the playoffs, Bulls fans were left holding their breath as to when the next, seemingly inevitable injury would occur. They did not have to wait long. His fairytale 2010-11 MVP season led to hopes of seeing the next star rise. The next clutch performer for years to come. The next Kobe, and playing for the Bulls the comparison to Jordan was popping up throughout last season's playoffs. However, Rose looked more like Tiny Tim the way his legs had been strapped and braced as he was helped off the court in Game 1 against Philadelphia. Instead of watching the next clutch winner rise, we might be left to watch another heart-breaking Brandon Roy. Whose amazing game could never fully overcome his debilitating, chronic knee injuries. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="234" caption="Can the Bulls' bench cover the loss of Rose?"][/caption] The circumstances may be different for Rose who may have just had an unfortunate season coming down with at least 6 different injuries (toe, back, groin, foot, ankle, ACL). Whereas Roy simply did not have the knees for elite basketball. But what does this mean for the Chicago Bulls going forward? Well first off, hopefully Rose will not become the next Brandon Roy and can return to his outstanding form. Chances are he will not be the player he was a year ago, exploding to the rim and such like. But with his work ethic he can still be a valuable member of a team, his passing and decision making are enough to make him a top 5 point-guard. Secondly, no one would blame the Bulls if they did not believe they could take the championship this year. However, they still have a great opportunity to get there, even without Rose. The Bulls won 18 of the 27 games Rose missed this season. They showed tremendous team play and willingness to share the ball. However, as the cliché goes, superstars win championships. Very rarely has a team lacking a go-to all-star come up with the ring. Ironically the 2004 Pistons did just that with Rip Hamilton in the line-up. Further ironically; the top seeded 2006 Piston's fell to the 2nd seed Miami Heat in the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals, perhaps the Bulls fated destination? Finally, the Bulls window of opportunity to win a championship with its core group is closing. They needed to make a push this year which is why Rose was rested so heavily prior to the playoffs. Realistically they still have another year with the core intact, but after that some serious decisions must be made on who to keep and who to let go. Pay day for bench players will come up and if the Bulls can no longer afford them they could go from having one of the deepest benches to one of the shortest. Over the next two years C.J Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Taj Gibson and Omer Asik will all become Restricted or Unrestricted free agents. Losing combinations of those players would nullify the edge the Bulls bench gives over other teams. Ultimately, Roses' fated injury-plagued season has hurt the Bulls significantly and their chances of making it to the Finals have been undeniably diminished.