SAN FRANCISCO — The stage was set perfectly but Derrick Rose’s body wouldn’t cooperate, as his sprained left ankle will prevent him from playing tonight against the undefeated NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
It’ll be the second straight game Rose will miss, as he missed the west-coast swing opener against the Phoenix Suns, but now the target is Tuesday against the Portland Trailblazers.
“Big game tonight. Of course I’d love to play in it but I have to deal with the reality,” Rose said. “I was able to move around a lot more than the previous days after I injured it.”
Rose didn’t practice Thursday so it looked pretty unlikely beforehand he would play in what looked to be a dream matchup against Stephen Curry, but many held out hope that with backup Aaron Brooks out with a hamstring injury that Rose would give it a go, even at half speed.
“It’s perfect, It’s perfect,” said Rose of the stage and opportunity. “It’s very hard, if it wasn’t this injury if it was something else I would’ve played. But this is slowing me a bit and I want to be right.”
He alluded to his history of playing with injury and how it affected not only his play but his body, most notably in the lockout 2011-12 year where nagging injuries could’ve played a part in his torn ACL in Game 1 of the first-round playoffs, the first of debilitating injuries.
“After today, I have a couple days to move around really test it before getting back on the court. I feel like my body’s a little bit different,” Rose said. “If I’m not close to 100 percent, I overthink a lot and overcompensate on a lot of things. It just comes with my body type.”
“What’s previously happened and dealing with the injury, if I was to play it wouldn’t be the game I’d normally play. It would be half of what I could do on the court and playing against them, that’s not what I want to do.”
Playing against Curry meant Rose would be going through a lot of screens and moving in different directions, leaving that ankle susceptible to being damaged worse than his current day-to-day status.
“Cutting and playing defense,” said Rose when asked the biggest thing to worry about physically. “Even on this trip, we’re playing teams that like to attack and get in the open court and I want to be able to defend in transition and play my game on the offensive end.”
He had high praise for Curry, the league’s MVP and leader in scoring, who appears on a mission to validate last year’s title run with another one, as the Warriors completed a 23-point comeback on the road against the rival L.A. Clippers Thursday night. Curry scored 40.
[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]
“He’s been amazing. He’s playing great basketball,” Rose said. “If anything he pushes not only me and the whole league to work on their game. The way he’s been working out, the way he’s focused and how consistent he’s playing, he’s pushing the whole league.”
For the first time, he admitted to a little frustration considering he played his most complete game of the season against the Indiana Pacers, where his injury occurred midway through the fourth quarter where he took an awkward step on the baseline.
“The frustrating thing about it is the last time I played I had a good game and I build off good games,” said Rose, referring to his 23-point, six-assist showing. “For me to not have the opportunity to play because of an ankle injury, it’s a frustrating thing about it. It’s reality. I have to deal with it and I’ll be back soon.”