Derrick Rose's Knee Injuries Explained

Basketball point guard Derrick Rose was in the news this week because of another knee injury. It's the same knee injury that prematurely ended his previous season: a meniscus tear in his right knee.

Read more about meniscus tears.

Meniscus tears are common for runners and other athletes, including basketball players, who run or pivot often during games. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tears

Knee injury 1: ACL tear

When the Chicago Bulls player was picked first in the NBA draft in 2008, many had high hopes for him. At first, Rose lived up to expectations: He became NBA Rookie of the Year in 2009 and the league's youngest Most Valuable Player in 2011.

However, a series of knee injuries have cut short or cancelled his past 4 playing seasons.

The first season-ending injury occurred in 2012, when Rose tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee. He had surgery to repair the tear, which requires 6 to 12 months of recovery before athletes should return to play.

See: ACL Tear Surgical Repair


Knee injuries 2 and 3: Meniscus tear

Rose was back to play in the fall of 2013, but just two months into that season he tore the meniscus in his right knee. Meniscus tears are a hazard for any athlete who makes sudden turns and hard stops, and are extremely common for basketball players.

Rose again underwent surgery, this time to repair the meniscus tear. But despite another year of recovery time and rehab after the first meniscus tear, Rose just suffered the same injury.

See Knee Surgery for a Torn Meniscus

Meniscus tears can be repaired either by repairing the tear or cutting out the damaged section. A partial meniscus removal heals quicker, but it poses more long-term risks for future problems like arthritis. Rose's first meniscus surgery was a repair, but his second one was a partial removal, meaning that he's expected to resume play in 4 to 6 weeks.

See 4 Factors Affecting Knee Meniscus Surgery

But despite the string of injuries that have plagued Rose in recent years, there's some good news in the mix: A 2011 study found that NBA players who returned to play after a meniscus tear had the same level of performance as pre-injury.1 So, there's a good chance that Derrick Rose can return to star player status once again.

See Recovering From Meniscus Repair Surgery

Learn More


  • 1."Epidemiology of isolated meniscal injury and its effect on performance in athletes from the National Basketball Association" Am J Sports Med. 2012 Mar; 40(3):589-94. doi: 10.1177/0363546511428601. Epub 2011 Nov 30.