Derrick Rose is injured again.
The Chicago Bulls guard sustained a left orbital fracture after getting elbowed in the face by a teammate during Tuesday’s practice, and he will undergo surgery on Wednesday, the Bulls said in a news release. A timetable for his return will be established after surgery.
“I didn’t really see the play to tell you the truth,” Jimmy Butler said. “I know he went baseline drift, probably made a pretty athletic play. Hit the corner and then all I saw was him go down.”
Knowledgeable athletic trainer Jeff Stotts, who keeps a detailed database of NBA injuries, wrote in 2014 that NBA players who “needed surgery following a facial fracture missed a minimum of five games and an average of 12 games.”
That’s a timeframe of about 3-4 weeks, meaning it’s possible but not guaranteed that Rose could be ready to return by the end of October and perhaps be ready for the team’s season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 27. He likely will wear a protective mask when he returns.
Regardless, it’s a setback for the Bulls, first-year coach Fred Hoiberg and Rose, who has consistently struggled with injuries since the 2011-12 season.
In the past four seasons, Rose has missed 212 of 312 regular-season games because of a variety of injuries: torn left ACL, bad back, groin injury, sprained toe, torn meniscus in his right knee, sprained ankles, strained hamstring and another torn meniscus in his right knee.
“Hopefully it’ll be fine,” said teammate Taj Gibson. “He’s tough. But it was just one of those plays in practice where everybody’s going hard.”
At media day on Monday, Rose, who has been named in a civil lawsuit accusing him and two friends of drugging and raping a woman in 2013, was ready to focus on basketball.
And now this, another injury for the 2010-11 MVP whose once-starlit career has been stalled again and again and again by injuries.