Derrick Rose might be back in month, or he might miss the season. The irony is the successful surgery will set him back for a longer period of time to heal than the less successful one.
If Rose is able to have his meniscus reattached the recovery time appears to be in the 3-4 month range, but the Bulls will likely be quite near the end of the season where even the slightest setback keeps him out the whole year, and there's little reason to think he comes back in late March playing at a dominant level since he hadn't yet returned from the ACL to play at a dominant level.
In short, the best long term result for Derrick will likely end the season for the Bulls. That's assuming they can hang on enough without him to make the playoffs. This will be especially difficult if the Bulls suffer any further injuries and expect a complete trainwreck until Jimmy Butler returns.
If Rose can't have the meniscus reattached and has the damaged part trimmed then his longevity in the league will likely be affected, but his recovery time will be much sooner. Not a good result for Derrick, but the Bulls might have enough time to recover and get their bearings in this scenario.
It's worth noting that in terms of seeding the only massive advantage in getting out of the East is getting the one seed. Any other seed and Chicago has to go through both Indy and Miami anyway, so it's sort of irrelevant. The only massive disadvantage is getting the seven or eight seed an having to play them in the first round.
However, even that doesn't really impact making it through the full bracket, but rather makes a first round exit more likely. As such, the Bulls championship hopes [if they are playing well by playoff time] aren't really any worse off in any position in the playoffs outside of the #1 seed which means they don't need to piece together a strong regular season to still have a punchers shot at this thing.
They only need to play well at the end and sneak in.
That said, discussing championships right now reminds me of Jim Mora's famous playoff speech a bit. It feels so ridiculous to even comprehend the idea. However, while I find it quite unlikely, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Derrick comes back at a high level before the season ends.
If Rose is going to miss the season [or comeback very late where odds of quality play seem very low] then Chicago needs to evaluate who it's going to keep in the future and how to maximize future talent. At that point, missing the playoffs certainly helps them more than making them.
Since the West is ridiculously stronger than the East, the difference between the eighth seed and the last team to miss the playoffs could easily be 3-4 draft slots. In this draft, that could be quite significant. Under normal circumstances, I'd wonder if the Bulls could even tank their way out of the playoffs if they tried, but if Rose misses the rest of the season, they're only a Kirk Hinrich injury away from being completely hopeless night in and night out.
How likely is it that Kirk plays the whole season? They can also look to move Luol Deng even if the market for him is nearly completely non existent. At that point it wouldn't about the return but in increasing lottery balls while acknowledging that they aren't keeping Deng next season anyway.
That said, the odds of the Bulls aiming for the draft are virtually nil, and it's a terrible culture hit on a team to actively try to lose. I think such an effort almost mandates that you replace the whole roster afterwards in order to wipe out that cultural hit. Something the Bulls likely aren't interested in.
Tanking also doesn't strike me as high up on Tom Thibodeau's list of fun activities.
There aren't good options for the Bulls at this point, and in another 12 hours we'll know more about which bad options seem most appealing.