The Bulls will likely be without two starters Saturday night against the Detroit Pistons as they have a shot to gain critical ground in the race for the final two playoff spots, as Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson are still doubtful with various situations.
The MRI on Rose’s left elbow showed some swelling on the bursa sac and it’s causing the discomfort. Rose did try to go through shootaround but it doesn’t appear things are too dissimilar from where he stood Thursday night, when he was unable to shoot against the Houston Rockets and sat out the second half of their comeback win.
With Detroit’s loss last night to Dallas, there’s a 1.5 game separation between the seventh-seeded Pistons and ninth-seeded Bulls, as a Bulls win would bring them closer to winning the second tie-breaker in terms of divisional records if their records are identical after 82 games.
“He’s still got an awful a lot of soreness in that elbow, having trouble extending it, so we’ll get him a couple treatments throughout the day,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “As of right now, his status really hasn’t changed much from where he was the other night.”
Although Rose is a right handed shooter, his left arm is used to guide his shots as well as him being a lefty driver to the basket. Never mind all the contact that elbow takes driving through picks and generally shielding himself through natural movements at the rim.
It’s a delicate situation and who knows how the Pistons would guard him, if they would guard him at all, if we were on the floor as a non-entity.
“That’s the thing. More than that, it’s just how effective can he be out there just playing with one arm,” Hoiberg said. “That’s been the dilemma the last couple of games. He wanted to try to keep going the other night, but he just didn’t have much effectiveness without being able to use his left hand, which is really his dominant hand when he’s driving the ball and finishing around the basket.
"So it’s tough with Derrick out with that type of situation. Again, we’ll just continue to give him treatments to get the swelling out of there and get him back as quickly as possible.”
Rose was officially deemed doubtful in the team injury report, along with Gibson, who’s back in his home of New York dealing with a personal matter.
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“It’s really all I can say about it,” Hoiberg said. “He’s trying to work his way back to Chicago right now, and then we’ll make a decision when he gets here.”
If Gibson doesn’t play, either Bobby Portis or Nikola Mirotic will start at power forward, and Gibson is already dealing with a fractured rib he swore he wanted to play through.
But all of that is in doubt, on the morning of the biggest game to date of the season.
“He didn’t get the opportunity to go out there and run around and do a lot of things just physically to test if he would be ready,” Hoiberg said. “So once he does make it back, we’ll test him out and see how he’s doing.”