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Bulls' Derrick Rose not concerned about ankle injury

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Bulls' Derrick Rose not concerned about ankle injury

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.”

[MORE BULLS: Butler saves Bulls win after Rose leaves with ankle injury]

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.”

[MORE BULLS: Paul George adds another chapter to comeback tour with Pacers]

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.”

Bulls announce substitute broadcasters for first five Neil Funk-less games

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USA TODAY

Bulls announce substitute broadcasters for first five Neil Funk-less games

If you haven't heard, Neil Funk is cutting 20 road games from his 2018-19 Bulls' play-by-play schedule.

Friday, the Bulls announced that Adam Amin, Andy Demetra and Kyle Draper will fill in for Funk for the first five of those games.

Amin, a play-by-play commentator for ESPN, will games on Oct. 22 against the Mavericks and Nov. 14 against the Celtics. He grew up in Addison, resides in Chicago and also does play-by-play for Bears preseason games.

Demetra is from Oak Brook and currently is the play-by-play broadcaster for Georgia Tech basketball and football. He will call games on Oct. 26 against the Hornets and Oct. 27 against the Hawks. He has previous play-by-play experience with the SEC Network, Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports South.

Draper will call the Bulls' Nov. 7 game against the Pelicans. He is the Celtics' pregame and postgame host for NBC Sports Boston and an occasional play-by-play annoucer and sideline reporter for the Celtics.

The Bulls said they will continue providing updates on substitute broadcasters as they are scheduled.

Pistons have the look of a playoff team in wide open East

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USA TODAY

Pistons have the look of a playoff team in wide open East

Finishing 9th in the Eastern Conference last season cost Stan Van Gundy his job as Pistons head coach and President of Basketball Operations. Van Gundy was replaced on the bench by 2017-18 Coach of the Year Dwane Casey, who was fired after the Raptors were swept by Cleveland in the conference semi-finals.

Casey’s job in Detroit is to find a way to develop the young players on the roster while getting the team to the playoffs. He has a pair of All-Star caliber players in the front court, Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, along with highly-paid, erratic point guard Reggie Jackson.

Griffin has battled injuries in recent seasons, but Van Gundy decided to roll the dice at mid-season a year ago by trading Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley AND a 1st round pick to the Clippers for the former slam dunk champion in a desperate bid to save his job. The trade didn’t work out for Van Gundy, but it’s possible Griffin could enjoy a resurgence in Detroit this season.

The 29-year-old power forward scored 26 points, pulled down eight rebounds and dished out six assists in the Pistons’ 103-100 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Drummond had a monster game with 24 points and 20 rebounds. As Bulls fans know all too well, Drummond has made the 20 rebound game commonplace when facing Fred Hoiberg’s squad in recent years.

As for Jackson, a severely sprained right ankle limited him to just 45 games last season, probably costing Detroit a chance to make the playoffs. The 8th year pro is lightning quick, with the ability to disrupt defenses by getting into the paint and challenging bigger defenders at the rim. Jackson scored 19 points in the season opener against Brooklyn, and he’ll be a problem for the Bulls Saturday night, especially if Kris Dunn is unavailable.

Casey is still trying to figure out how to use the rest of the roster Van Gundy built, with recent 1st round pick Henry Ellenson and former rotation player Jon Leuer getting DNP-CD’s against the Nets. Meanwhile, two other expected rotation players, small forward Stanley Johnson and swingman Reggie Bullock missed the opener because of injuries.

That left second year guard Luke Kennard and 2018 2nd round draft pick Bruce Brown as the other starters in game one, something that’s unlikely to continue once everyone’s healthy.

So, how do the Bulls even their record at 1-1 on Saturday? Here are my three keys:

1. Keep Drummond and Griffin off the offensive boards. This is much easier said than done. Drummond in particular is relentless going after missed shots, and his bulk will cause problems for 19 year old rookie Wendell Carter Jr. Hoiberg hinted at possible line-up changes on Friday morning, which could include starting veteran Robin Lopez at center to battle Drummond inside. Griffin has turned into more of a jump shooter now and doesn’t have the multiple jump capability that characterized his early seasons in the NBA, but he’s still a threat to create 2nd shot opportunities.

2. Close out on three-point shooters. Of all the defensive issues for the Bulls in Philadelphia on Thursday, losing touch with shooters in transition was probably the most troublesome. Robert Covington seemed to be open at the three-point line throughout the game, and Bulls players struggled to handle cross-match situations. Kennard had one of the best games of his rookie season against the Bulls, and Jackson, Ish Smith and Langston Galloway are all capable of heating up from long distance.

3. Attack Detroit’s interior defense. The Bulls were at their best offensively in the first quarter against Philadelphia when they drove to the basket to set up easy scoring chances. Zach LaVine was getting to the rim at will in scoring 15 of his 30 points in the opening 12 minutes, and his penetration also set up Bobby Portis for open looks from the three-point line. Hopefully, Dunn will return to stabilize the point guard position and give the Bulls' first unit another shot creator so they can sustain their pace and scoring potential over four quarters.

Saturday’s home opener is definitely winnable against a Detroit team still finding its way under a new coaching staff. Better effort and attention to detail on the defensive end along with a fast-paced, drive and kick offensive attack should make for an exciting opening night at the United Center.

Make sure to join Kendall Gill, Will Perdue, Kelly Crull and me for a special one hour edition of Bulls Pre-Game Live at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago and the new My Teams app, followed by the play by play call with Neil Funk and Stacey King at 7 p.m. And, stay tuned after the final buzzer for reaction and analysis on an expanded edition of Bulls Postgame Live.