Bulls

Bulls: Derrick Rose struggling to fight through elbow pains

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Bulls: Derrick Rose struggling to fight through elbow pains

Derrick Rose played through his hyperextended left elbow for two games, being unable to shoot for the better part of them until he decided that giving it a rest would be the best choice, as he was sorely missed in the Bulls’ 94-90 loss to the Detroit Pistons Saturday night.

Rose’s MRI revealed swelling in his bursa sac, and if that doesn’t sound uncomfortable enough, the point guard revealed there’s a shooting pain down his left arm whenever the elbow gets bumped. It affects his dribbling and playing, let alone his ability as a left-handed driver and shooting, as his left hand is his guide hand.

“A little bit of swelling but it’s more tender than swelling,” Rose said before the game. “I can’t dribble the ball or every time I get hit, the vibration of getting hit aggravates the spot.”

Initially hurting it on a drive against the Atlanta Hawks last week—a drive Rose reminds everyone that he didn’t get a call on—he used his elbow to naturally shield his fall, thus causing the injury.

[MORE: Bulls suffer critical loss to Pistons despite Jimmy Butler's triple-double]

After the first half of the Rockets game Thursday, against dogged competitor but friend Patrick Beverley, everyone decided it would be best to sit him for the remainder of the game.

“It’s hard but I just tried,” Rose said. “I think I played the whole Indiana game with one hand then Houston game, thank God Pat didn’t try to pressure me the entire game. I think he knew and he eased back a little bit.”

“It’s just the reality, I have to deal with an injury. I fell on the floor, gonna fall here and there, gonna have injuries. Just gonna try to get through it and have to get on the floor.”

With six games remaining and the Bulls falling further away from playoff contention, Rose said he was doing everything he could to return in enough time to help—although given how he played Thursday, it’s unrealistic to expect him to play Sunday in Milwaukee.

“Every day it’s getting better. Able to push off a little bit more. As far as right now it’s tender,” Rose said. “If it feels different. I’ve been getting treatment all day, from in the morning till now. I’ll see how that goes and see how tomorrow goes.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Rose has been arguably the Bulls’ best player since the All-Star break, and his injury adds to the lot considering the ailments of Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson, but missing such a crucial game hurts like all the others.

“Not only this game but every game this year,” Rose said. “Trying to play in consistent games. I’m hurt, but I gotta be smart, out there playing with one hand.”

And if that comment sends shivers down the spine of Bulls’ fans, consider the shiver that goes down Rose’s arm when he gets whacked.

“If I was to get hit, yes, it would go down to my fingers,” Rose said. “Other than that, it’s just that.”

Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski sits down with Kendall Gill and Will Perdue to discuss all the need-to-know topics to get you ready for the season opener. The guys analyze how Lauri’s injury will make its mark on the early season rotation, whether Jabari will return to the starting unit or embrace the 6th-man role and why Portis betting on himself is the right move. Plus, Kendall has the key to unlock a “6th Man of the Year” award for Portis this season.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below:

'Underdog' Tyler Ulis will fit in just fine with these Bulls

'Underdog' Tyler Ulis will fit in just fine with these Bulls

It's been a whirlwind of a summer for point guard Tyler Ulis, but he finally feels like he's found a home. Literally.

The 5-foot-9 point guard was cut by the Suns in late June, latched on with a training camp invite by the Warriors and was subsequently waived on Friday. It was then that Ulis, working out in California, received a call from his agent. He had been claimed on waivers by the Chicago Bulls. His hometown Bulls.

"I grew up watching (the Bulls)," he said after his first practice on Tuesday. "Growing up in this city, you always want to be a Bull and you’re always willing and hoping that you’ll be here one day...I'm home now. It's a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to it."

Ulis is back in Chicago for the first time since he was breaking records for Marian Catholic High School. Ulis became a five-star recruit for the Spartans and in 2014 signed on as the next point guard in the long line of successful floor generals under John Calipari and Kentucky.

Ulis backed up the Harrison twins, Andrew and Aaron, as a freshman but saw his role increase as a sophomore. He blossomed, earning Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors in the SEC. Only Anthony Davis had ever earned both honors in a single season.

He declared for the 2016 NBA Draft with hopes of becoming a first-round pick. But unlike the Calipari point guards before him, Ulis slipped all the way down to the second round before the Phoenix Suns scooped him up with the 34th pick.

"Honestly I really did think (the Bulls) were going to draft me," Ulis said on Tuesday when recalling the 2016 NBA Draft. The Bulls took Denzel Valentine with the 14th pick. "But I'm here now so that's all that matters."

In 132 games, Ulis averaged 7.6 points and 4.1 assists in 21.1 minutes. He started 58 of those games, and while his shooting left plenty to be desired he handled the offense well and brought that same pesky defense he showed off at Kentucky. It wasn't enough, even for the guard-deprived Suns. They released Ulis before free agency this summer - which ruffled the feathers of franchise guard Devin Booker - in a rather unexpected move.

"My Mom always taught me (to) never expect anything," Ulis said of his release from the Suns. "When you're on a losing team like that anything can happen. I feel like I showed I could play at this level but they went a different way."

The Suns' loss - they may resort to starting 38-year-old Jamal Crawford at point guard this year - could be the Bulls' gain. Expectations should be harnessed for Ulis, especially with him joining the roster this late in the preseason, but the Bulls, like Phoenix, have question marks at the point.

Kris Dunn is entrenched as the starter, but Cameron Payne struggled mightily in the preseason and Ryan Arcidiacono doesn't project as a contributor. That leaves an opening for Ulis to potentially fill on the second unit, and apparently he's making a statement early in practice.

"Tyler had a real good practice," Fred Hoiberg said. "I think I think he changes the pace when he’s out there on the floor. He picks up full-court, he gets up underneath you. He can make a shot. He’s got good vision and can make a play with the ball in his hand. So I was very impressed with his first workout."

Ulis is working on a 45-day two-way contract, so it's unknown how much he'll contribute. He could be shuttled back and forth between Chicago and the Windy City Bulls, but there's certainly an opportunity for him to stick. He'll be playing catch-up and learning on the go, but doing so in his hometown wth friends and family around him for support will work to his advantage.

"Being a smaller guard growing up in a big man’s sport, you get looked over. So I’m the underdog," he said. "And I feel like this team is an underdog, so we should all be excited to get the season started and prove people wrong."