The Chicago Bulls' exit from the playoffs with a three-point loss to the Miami Heat will only add fuel to Chicago's latest sports furor. Much of the city is livid that Derrick Rose did not return to the court after a year of rehabilitation from knee surgery.

The Bulls, who were basically a seven-man team after injuries sidelined two other starters, made an astonishing show of will, ousting the Brooklyn Nets in seven games in the first round and then scaring Miami.

But gravity was bound to take hold. With star players felled by spinal-tap complications (Luol Deng), an injured calf (Kirk Hinrich) and plantar fasciitis (Joakim Noah), the team had about as much chance in the playoffs as a three-legged dog racing against greyhounds.

But the biggest void was left by the 24-year-old Rose. A slashing point guard whose remarkable leaping ability often takes him to the basket, where he is routinely banged around by far bigger forwards and centers, Rose is the only player other than LeBron James to win the Most Valuable Player award in the last five years.

In Chicago, Rose has been seen as the second coming of Michael Jordan. Born, raised and schooled here, Rose is soft-spoken and remarkably humble, and the city has taken to him adoringly.

Until recently.

Fans and analysts had been clamoring for Rose to return from his long rehabilitation after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last year in the first game of the playoffs.

The anticipation was heightened by beguiling ads that Adidas, Rose's shoe company, began running that showed a city reduced to stillness by Rose's injury. The commercial went on to show Rose engaged in an intense rehab routine, with a look on his face as if he were ready to chew steel.
When the Minnesota Vikings' star running back, Adrian Peterson, returned last season from ACL surgery to become the NFL's Most Valuable Player, Chicagoans began expecting the same from Rose.