"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."