January 14, 2013; Boston, MA USA; Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (9) during the first half against the Charlotte Bobcats at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Roundhouse: On ACLs, Sports Hate, and Why It All Seems Hopeless Sometimes

“HOLDING ONTO HIS KNEE…HOLDING ONTO HIS KNEE AND DOWN.”

It’s been exactly nine months since Derrick Rose crumpled to the floor at the United Center. I consider that day to be possibly the worst single day of my life. It’s certainly in the top five.

It’s really hard to explain what goes through your head when something like that happens. I went through the five stages of grief in about an hour, a whirlwind of emotion that I in no way was prepared for. I spent most of that day muttering “this can’t be happening” to myself over and over again.

Yesterday, we found out that Rajon Rondo would miss the rest of this year with a torn ACL of his own. For a scuffling Boston Celtics team that was teetering on the edge of playoff contention even before Rondo went down, this is essentially the worst-case scenario.

Paul Pierce’s reaction when he was told about Rondo’s ACL after a hard-fought, double-overtime win against the Miami Heat says it better than I ever could.

As a Bulls fan and a Chicagoan, I am hardly fond of the team from Boston. In particular, Rondo’s performance in that Bulls-Celtics playoff series in 2009 drives me up a wall. The combination of his superb play and the way he fouled Brad Miller and threw Kirk Hinrich into the scorer’s table made me essentially hate him.

But there’s no way that I can avoid sympathizing with Boston fans over this. Rondo is an immense talent and has been an integral part of the Celtics the last few years. Losing him is a stomach punch, and that might be an understatement.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: It’s important to keep things in perspective. I mean that.

To my fellow Bulls fans, I would say this: You may despise the Celtics. You may despise Rajon Rondo. That is your prerogative and I would never take that away from you. But remember that those in Boston — players and fans alike — are just people. They’re people who happen to support/play for one specific sports team in one particular city. In pretty much every way that matters, they’re just like you. Show some class and support them as they go through this tough time.

And to Celtics fans, I would say this: It gets better. I know it sounds cliche and all, but it honestly does get better. Nine months later, as we’re getting ready to welcome Derrick Rose back to the Bulls, I’m in a much better place than I was in May. You learn to live with the pain, the stupid photoshops, the incessant reminders of what happened.

Does it suck? HELL YES IT SUCKS. But life is like that sometimes. You have to slog through the crap sometimes, but hopefully you learn something along the way. For instance, I learned that watching basketball can still be fun, regardless of the circumstances. My happiness did not depend solely on the presence of one player.

That said, I would trade everything I’ve learned about myself and about sports over the past nine months for a healthy Derrick Rose in a heartbeat. A f***ing heartbeat.

Well, that was mildly depressing. Here is a picture of a kitten with a basketball.

You’re welcome.

Tags: ACLs Boston Celtics Derrick Rose NBA News Rajon Rondo The NBA Roundhouse

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