Derrick Rose limped through the locker room after the Bulls’ 96-95 win over the Indiana Pacers and issued some truth-soaked statements that should quell the near-panic birthed from his awkward step that resulted in a left ankle sprain.
"(It feels) like an ankle sprain,” Rose said, laughing. “It’s throbbing a little bit, but that’s not out of the norm.”
Before his debilitating knee injuries, the one injury Rose was familiar with was ankle sprains back from his days as a youth growing up in Chicago.
So despite his going to the locker room with five minutes remaining, albeit under his own power, he wasn’t thinking doom and gloom as he sat watching the remainder of the Bulls’ late win.
“I believe in my teammates, we believe in one another,” Rose said. “I felt like I couldn’t go out there, and I felt like they could finish the game.”
He chuckled when he was asked if he should be in a walking boot, brushing it off playfully. Though he wouldn’t commit to a status for the upcoming three-game Western Conference road trip, it doesn’t appear likely he’ll miss any time.
“That’s too far ahead,” Rose said. “Right now I just need to get treatment, put some ice on it for a little bit. After this, just get off my feet and put more ice on it.”
Then came his most telling statement: “What I went through, all I’ve been through, just me playing and doing all I have to do, of course my ankle is a bit sore. I’m just happy nothing is broken, nothing is torn.”
Rose was driving baseline and was then fouled by Ellis before coming up lame, saying, “Just trying to avoid going out of bounds and stepped too short and twisted it a bit.”
He tried to stay in the game on the next two possessions before being subbed out, but he was clearly hobbling.
“It’s an ankle sprain, and he was limping around in the locker room,” said Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, who’s gotten an early indoctrination to Rose’s various ailments. “We don’t know how severe it is. We will find out more tonight.”
The information the Bulls received before the injury had to encourage them. Yes, he’s still dealing with the double vision that could last another month, but he put together an efficient offensive performance, scoring 23 points with six assists and no turnovers in 33 minutes.
He made both of his 3-point attempts after coming in making just one of his first 18 on the season. He shot better than 50 percent for the first time this season, and played aggressively without having to see LeBron James or Russell Westbrook on the other side.
“His shot was really good, he has been putting his work in, not only in practice but coming in late to work on his shot,” Hoiberg said. “His tempo was really good. You could tell that first 3 was going in as soon as it left his hands. He will keep getting in better shape.”
Rose is finding spots on the floor where the double-vision won’t affect him as much, driving mid-range to create angles where he can use the glass for jumpers — a habit he seemed to start in last spring’s playoffs, but now it’s clear he wants to use it much more.
“It’s an easy shot. They’re giving me the shot,” Rose said. “I think I shoot it off the glass pretty good. Any opportunity I get, I’m gonna continue to shoot it off the glass.”
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He found himself more inside the trees defensively as opposed to waiting for the outlet pass, which could be another factor in playing faster.
“All that’s coach Fred. He wants me to rebound the ball inside,” Rose said. “It’s kinda like (Jason Kidd) back when he was playing, he could get it and go. It’s hard when you have a point guard or anyone that can push the ball off a rebound because your defense isn’t set. You can score a couple points easy.”
He wasn’t much in the mood to talk about his performance in the abstract, not because he was down about the injury but due to wanting to keep looking forward, moving forward, double vision be damned, and that damn limp be damned, too.
“I’m able to walk on it, that’s a good thing. I’ll go see what (the training staff is) talking about in a little bit,” Rose said. “I’m used to it. It’s not like it’s a crazy injury or something that’s out of the norm. It’s just an ankle injury, and I should be out there.”