Bulls

Despite latest injury, Rose to attempt to play in Knicks rematch?

728662.png

Despite latest injury, Rose to attempt to play in Knicks rematch?

"I thought I was done with it, too," said a frustrated Derrick Rose, just before facing a deluge of questions from the assembled media at the Berto Center.

By "it," Rose meant injury questions, as he returned to the Bulls lineup Sunday afternoon after missing 12 consecutive game with a strained right groin. However, during the second quarter of that Easter afternoon loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Rose suffered what he termed a "sprain" on his right ankle in the second quarter of the eventual overtime defeat.

"I think I was driving and twisted my ankle, and you know how I am. If its a close game or a game I want to get, Im going to continue to play and that ended up making it worse. Just an ankle sprain and hopefully Ill be over it in a couple of days. The only thing I can do is try to stay positive. God does everything for a reason. I dont know the reason right now. Just trying to fight through it and just trying to cheer on my teammates," he said after the teams Tuesday-morning shootaround, prior to the evenings rematch with New York at the United Center. "It was something I knew was big. In the fourth quarter, thats why I was walking the ball up the majority of the time. I wasnt running because of the throbbing, but I was just trying to win the game and it definitely hurts losing the game and definitely if I have to sit out this game. If I do choose to play or choose not to play, its definitely going to hurt. That game right there hurt a lot."

"I think it was Knicks swingman Landry Fields. I remember driving middle and Fields was right there. I was thinking about passing and I just felt my ankle turn. I just threw the ball and Taj ended up catching it. He gave it back to me and I couldnt move. I threw it to Lu when he was under the basket and I dont know what happened after that," continued Rose, who sprained the same ankle during last springs first-round playoff series against the Pacers. "When your blood is going and pumped up, you usually dont feel it. I sat on the bench for a little bit. It was throbbing a little bit, then I got back into the game, I think in the fourth quarter and movement was a little difficult, but if anything, Im just mad that we lost the game."

Rose indicated that this is truly a game-time decisionas did Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, who knowingly says the phrase even when theres no possibility that Rose suits up, though this scenario is different than the All-Star point guard was out with the aforementioned groin injurybut while he didnt participate in the shootaround, Rose will make an effort to play in Tuesdays contest, something a source familiar with the situation confirmed to CSNChicago.com.

"I really dont know. Ive got to see how it is after treatment," said Rose. "Right now, every day its getting better. I got a lot of treatment yesterday. Last night, coming back in this morning. Every day, every treatment, its getting better, so after I get done talking to you all, Ill get some more treatment. Ill go to the UC later on, get some more treatment, see how it feels."

"Its still swollen," continued the leagues reigning MVP. "Got to keep padding on it."

This is my first time ever being injured in my life like this and its definitely frustrating missing all these games, but Im just trying to stay positive, trying to keep my head up and just try to work as hard as I can.

Thibodeau, who admitted he didnt notice the injury during the game, but caught it when reviewing the film of Sundays defeat, added: "Itll be game time."

"He has to be healthy, he has to be cleared. He said hes feeling better this morning, but hes got to make sure that he can go. If he cant go, our guys have shown we have more than enough to win with," he continued. "If hes hurt, hes hurt. He cant go. But if hes healthy, he goes.

"Part of the game."

On the bright side, Rose said he didnt feel any negative effects from his groin injury, either during or after Sundays game.

"Its behind me. I didnt even feel it that game," he said. "Just trying to get my driving game back. My shot was OK. Just got to get used to attacking again."

Rose acknowledged that his own injury woes, as well as those to teammates like backcourt partner Rip Hamilton, mean the Bulls have to find their chemistry again, especially after already dropping three games in April, as they try to protect the Eastern Conferences top seed and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

"Its huge, especially right now. We have to catch a rhythm. Ive been out the majority of the year with all these injuries. A couple other players have been out a little bit, but if anything, were happy that weve been together," he explained. "This is basically the same team from last year. We know everybodys tendencies on the team. We know how to play with one another, but its going to take a little time for us to jell."

Could star-crossed Derrick Rose be ready to call it quits?

derrick_rose.jpg
AP

Could star-crossed Derrick Rose be ready to call it quits?

I'll never forget watching the reaction of Derrick Rose after he found out his hometown Bulls had won the rights to draft first overall in the 2008 lottery. Rose was smiling from ear to ear as he imagined the possibilities of leading the team he rooted for growing up back to greatness. And, the fact the Bulls faced such long odds to win the top pick made the news even sweeter for the soft-spoken teenager from Simeon high school.

Rose took the NBA by storm, turning in the kind of highlight reel plays Bulls fans hadn't seen since the Jordan era. He was named Rookie of the Year and matched a record set by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar by scoring 36 points in his very first playoff game against the Celtics. The future couldn't look brighter for Chicago's hometown hero.

Rose really took off in his first season playing for Tom Thibodeau, averaging 25 points a game while leading the Bulls to a league-best 62-20 record, in the process becoming the youngest MVP in NBA history. The Bulls lost to Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals, but it appeared only a matter of time before Rose brought NBA championship to the city of Chicago.

But then came that fateful Saturday afternoon in April of 2012 when Rose ruptured his left ACL playing the meaningless final minutes of the Bulls' playoff opening win over Philadelphia. The Bulls would go on to lose that series while Rose headed off to a long and frightening rehab. The wunderkind suddenly robbed of his amazing gifts with one fateful misstep.

Rose sat out the entire 2012-13 season, drawing criticism from many fans and some media members who expected Rose to return after the mid-season All-Star break. Eleven games into the 2013-14 season, Rose was hurt again, this time with a season-ending right meniscus tear. Forget the flashy Adidas marketing campaign about Rose coming back better than ever, we would never see the explosive league MVP again.

Only Rose, his family and his trusted friends know the extent of the frustration that Derrick went through as he tried to prove to all the doubters he could still be one of the league's best players. Rose grew more combative with the media when questioned about trying to reshape his game given the new physical limitations. He would have one more knee surgery while a member of the Bulls, missing about six weeks in the 2014-15 season following another right meniscus tear.

Rose had one more heroic moment in a Bulls' uniform, banking in a three-point heave to give the Bulls a 2-1 series lead over LeBron James and the Cavs in the 2015 playoffs, but Cleveland would go on to sweep the next three games of the series, ending Rose's last chance to lead his hometown team to a championship.

Rose was traded to the Knicks in June of 2016 after the Bulls failed to make the playoffs, but after having a productive 2016-17 campaign in New York, Rose would suffer yet another knee injury, leading to another summer of rehab and doubt.

After talking openly with reporters about getting a shot at signing another max contract in September of 2015, two years before he would hit free agency, Rose could only land a veteran's minimum deal to hop on board with LeBron and the Cavs this season. He played fairly well in seven games, averaging 14.3 points on 47 percent shooting from the field, but then an injury sidelined him again, this time an ankle sprain.

Which brings us to Friday's bombshell that Rose was leaving the team to "re-evaluate his future in the NBA." Would the self-described "hooper" actually pull the plug on his NBA career at the age of 29? It seems like all the years of injuries, rehab and reduced effectiveness have taken a substantial physical and emotional toll.

In Rose's mind, he's still one of the league's elite players and should be held in the same regard as LeBron, KD, Steph, Russ and James Harden. Problem is, his body has already betrayed him, and the stat sheets that continually show more turnovers than assists are becoming too difficult to ignore.

Maybe some time away from the daily grind will convince Derrick he still loves the game and wants to get back with the Cavs to play whatever role is needed for a team with an excellent chance to get back to the Finals next June. Or maybe being with his son and family members during the holiday season will convince him that the cycle of injury and rehab is something he just doesn't want to endure anymore, even at the price of giving up the $80 million remaining on his shoe contract with Adidas.

Cavs coach Ty Lue says he's confident Rose will return to the team after some time away, and LeBron has been vocal in his support of Rose trying to re-establish his identity with a championship contender. My best guess is Rose will play again for the Cavs this season, but whether he wants to continue down the road of many injured stars, moving from city to city on minimum contracts, just might not be worth it anymore.

Can Cairo Santos be the kicker the Bears need?

11-23cairosantos.jpg
USA Today

Can Cairo Santos be the kicker the Bears need?

Since the Bears inserted Mitchell Trubisky as their starting quarterback, they've had 12 drives end with a field goal — an average of two per game. Connor Barth hit nine of those dozen kicks, which had an average distance of 38.4 yards, but all three of Barth’s misses came from 45 yards or longer. 

Barth’s missed game-tying 46-yarder in the final seconds Sunday against the Detroit Lions was the last straw for someone who hadn’t been consistent in his one and a half years in Chicago. So enter Cairo Santos, who made 89 of 105 field goals (85 percent) from 2014-2017 with the Kansas City Chiefs. More importantly: Santos has made 73 percent of his career field goals from 40 or more yards; Barth made 52 percent of his kicks from the same distance with the Bears. 

(73 percent from long range isn’t bad, but it’s not great, either: Philadelphia Eagles kicker and Lyons Township High School alum Jake Elliott has made 88 percent of his 40-plus-yard kicks; Harrison Butker, who replaced Santos in Kansas City, has made 90 percent of his kicks from that distance. Both players are rookies who were drafted and cut prior to the season.)

Santos was released by the Chiefs in late September after a groin injury landed him on injured reserve (he played in three games prior to being released). The injury wasn’t expected to be season-ending, and Santos said he’s felt 100 percent for about two weeks before joining the Bears on Monday. 

“It was a long and difficult battle, but I was confident that it wasn’t going to be a serious injury, I just needed time,” Santos said. “I dealt with it in training camp, I was kicking really well, I was the only kicker in KC, and I didn’t have the appropriate time to heal. I tried to play the first three games and it got worse, so my main goal was to get 100 percent. I’ve been kicking for about a month now and finally the last week been able to come here and visit with the Bears. The muscle is in good shape to come and take a full load of a week’s practice and games, so thankful the opportunity worked out.”

For Santos, these next six weeks can be an audition for him to stick in Chicago next year. If the Bears can look optimistically at the improvements made by the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams with second-year top-drafted quarterbacks, they’ll need to figure out their kicking situation sooner rather than later. Bringing in Santos provides a good opportunity for that down the stretch. 

“He’s kicked in Kansas City, which is a similar climate,” special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers said. “Their field is similar to Soldier Field. He’s played in some big games, played in some important situations and he’s, by and large, been successful in those situations.”