CHICAGO (AFP) - The Chicago Bulls, reeling from the loss of again-injured Derrick Rose, fell 98-86 on Wednesday to the Charlotte Hornets.
The Bulls announced on Tuesday that Rose, the 2011 NBA Most Valuable Player, had a meniscus tear in his right knee and would need surgery for the second straight year.
The right knee injuries come after Rose missed an entire season recovering from a torn left knee ligament.
"I don't know what to say other than it's so unfair," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said before Wednesday's game.
"The guy has been through so much. What he has put into it and this one - not that anytime you have surgery it's not tough - will hopefully be much shorter than the other ones. But the big thing is our concern for him first as a person." Chicago's French center Joakim Noah, who turned 30 on Wednesday, declined to discuss Rose's latest injury.
Team-mate Kirk Hinrich did so but had trouble finding the right words.
"It's a blow because one of our team-mates is down," Hinrich said. "It hurts to see anyone go down, especially someone who is as good a person as Derrick is and the history he's had with injuries. I'm still shocked." Spanish big man Pau Gasol recorded his league-leading 38th double-double with 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls, but Chicago nevertheless had a two-game winning streak snapped.
In a game featuring 18 lead changes and 15 ties, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 18 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for Charlotte.
Mo Williams added 17 points and five assists for the Hornets, who snapped a five-game losing streak.