Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose could be out of action for an entire year while he recovers from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the doctor who performed the procedure said on Tuesday.
Rose, a three-time All-Star who was named the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Most Valuable Player last year, suffered the knee injury in Chicago's opening playoff game last month.
Doctor Brian Cole, who performed the operation on Saturday, told a news conference Rose was facing a lengthy break from the game.
"The time frame that we believe an athlete of this caliber generally requires is about eight to 12 months. Sometimes shorter, sometimes longer," he said.
"While he will be in hopefully a very high level in eight to 12 months, it still may take slightly longer for him to be at his pre-injury level, that's not uncommon in athletes at this caliber."
At best, Rose would miss the first few months of the 2012-13 NBA season, starting at the end of October. At worst, he could miss the entire campaign, which could be a major blow to the Bulls.
They finished the 2011-12 regular season as the number one ranked team in the Eastern Conference but, without Rose, they bowed out of the playoff race in the first round when they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Julian Linden)