Although it came as a bit of a surprise, Derrick Rose’s left groin injury caused him to miss Friday’s game against the Miami Heat at the United Center—and produced the sharpest defense from Rose, as he missed his 11th game of the season.
The Bulls certainly could’ve used an extra ballhandler as they turned it over 18 times but tweaking his groin in the fourth quarter Thursday was serious enough to take a cautious approach and sit out the next night.
“Got sore when the game went on,” Rose said. “Gave them notice yesterday and they were on top of it.”
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg hopes to have Rose for the upcoming road swing in Toronto and Washington, D.C., seeing as how the number of games dwindle, Rose’s importance to the team is magnified.
He tried to quell any mushrooming controversy by saying the team and Rose made the decision for him to sit out, as opposed to the narrative about Rose running the show and sitting out when he feels like it.
“It’s everybody’s decision. With the way he feels, he has a strain in there,” Hoiberg said. “I don’t know how serious or how long he’ll be out. Looks like a day to day thing right now. Try to keep it moving, keep it loose. The decision from everybody right now was to keep him out.”
Rose took questions from the media by his locker before the game, and defended the decision to sit out, as he’s still on track to play the most games in a season since his MVP campaign in 2010-11
“It’s listening to my body. Nobody knows my body more than me. So I’m listening to it,” Rose said. “It is what it is. It’s not like guys are trying to get injured. We’re trying our hardest to make the playoffs, make a run for it. The way we’re playing, injuries are gonna come.”
The Bulls are fighting with the Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards for the last two playoff spots as the sixth-seeded Charlotte Hornets continue to distance themselves from the rest of the pack.
Rose missed three games shortly after the All-Star break but has sandwiched it between his best stretch of play in years. It’s coincided, though, with the Bulls’ slide and other injuries to key players like Jimmy Butler.
“Frustrating? I wouldn’t say It’s frustrating,” Rose said. “I’m controlling all I can control. Trying my hardest to be out there. The reality is stuff like this happens.”
“I have a workout after I finish talking to you all. But I don’t know what the plan is tomorrow.”
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The Bulls fell to 2-4 this month with a 118-96 loss to the Heat at the United Center, a game they would’ve liked looked severely outmanned in even had Rose participated.
“We’re giving it our all. When you give it your all, sometimes nagging injuries happen,” he said.
He wouldn’t entertain a question about if it were a game later in the season with playoff implications but seemed optimistic about Monday in Toronto.
“Just keep doing what I’m doing. I don’t answer ‘if’ questions. ‘If’s’ never happen,” Rose said. “That’s the plan. Give it these two days, work hard, lift. Whatever they want me to do. When Monday comes, if I feel good, I’ll play.”