PHOENIX — Derrick Rose is keeping the door slightly ajar, but it appears the Bulls will begin their three-game western swing without him Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns, as his left ankle injury prevented him from going through the morning shootaround.
“It’s still sore, so get treatment and come back later and see how it feels,” Rose said. “Just move around a little bit. But see how tonight goes and see if I’m ready to play.”
Rose took an awkward step on a drive against Monta Ellis in the fourth quarter of Monday’s 96-95 win over the Indiana Pacers, limping off then going to the locker room.
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said it’s “extremely doubtful” Rose plays, and Kirk Hinrich will start in his place. If he can get himself ready to go, he would’ve had four days of rest before Friday’s showdown in Oakland against the champs, the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry, a matchup one would think Rose would relish.
“I don’t think this is going to be something that holds him out a long time,” Hoiberg said. “It seems to be something where he’ll be day-to-day. Hopefully after the game tonight, we’ll re-evaluate it tomorrow and see if he can go at Golden State. If not we’ll have three days to get him some work and get back, but I’ve been really pleased with Derrick.”
The usual swelling didn’t occur and Rose said it wasn’t an ankle sprain that could be graded (mild, severe, etc). He’s been taking ice treatments along with laser, electric stimulation and acupuncture to speed up the process.
“Nah, just a regular ankle sprain,” Rose said. “Haven’t sprained his ankle in a long time. It’s kind of a weird feeling at first getting an injury like this again. There wasn’t no swelling.”
The injury seems to come at the worst and best time, all at the same time, considering the circumstances. The Bulls aren’t going through an arduous road trip, playing three games in seven days as opposed to a seven-game circus road trip they took this time last year, but they play a murderer’s row of guards each night and Rose’s ability to attack and control tempo will be key, should he play.
“I would love to play in all three of them but really got to pay attention to my body, listen to my body. If I can’t go, I’ll be able to tell tonight,” he said.
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And Rose is coming off his most complete performance of the season before getting hurt, a 23-point, six-assist showing that easily could’ve been a double-double with assists.
“He I thought was playing, besides the Oklahoma City game, as well as he’d played all year,” Hoiberg said. “He put a lot of work in going into that game, with coming in late at night, getting in a lot of extra shots. He hit two threes that game, his stroke looked great. He was king of the guy running the show, making plays, making things happen that entire Indiana game.
“When he went out we obviously struggled. So that was too bad to see when he went out. But he’s getting there, he’s getting that rhythm. He’s got 10 games under his belt now, plus a quarter of a preseason game. You can tell he’s getting in really good shape.”