Blackhawks

Despite latest injury, Rose to attempt to play in Knicks rematch?

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Despite latest injury, Rose to attempt to play in Knicks rematch?

"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."

Do the Blackhawks have room to sign John Tavares?

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USA TODAY

Do the Blackhawks have room to sign John Tavares?

The NHL Draft is over. Farm systems have been restocked and now the focus has shifted to free agency, where the fun is just beginning.

The biggest fish on the market is John Tavares, a franchise-changing center in the heart of his prime. For a little bit, it seemed like the loyal New York Islanders captain was ready to move on after they took another step back by missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

But then Lou Lamiorello became available and was snatched up by Long Island. His first order of business was relieving GM Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight of their duties, the first real sign that significant changes were coming. The next was securing Barry Trotz as head coach after he couldn't agree to terms on an extension with the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.

For the first time in a while, there appears to be structure in the front office and coaching staff.

Yet, Tavares has remained committed to visiting with reportedly five teams in Los Angeles during the free agent negotiating window that opened Sunday. And he's absolutely earned that right. San Jose and Toronto are believed to be two of the teams. The rest is unclear.

When asked by NBC Sports Chicago's Pat Boyle at the end of the draft on Saturday, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman wouldn't confirm nor deny that they were one of the teams scheduled to meet with Tavares.

"I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise, right?" Bowman said with a smile.

Whether or not they are, could the Blackhawks realistically even make it work?

They actually have the cap space to do it. Or at least they can make room without shuffling too many cards.

As of Sunday, the Blackhawks have $9.225 million in open cap space to fill out six roster spots. If you can find a trade partner for Marian Hossa's contract, that creates an extra $5.275 million, which brings the total up to $14.5 million. That's without subtracting any real bodies from the roster. 

Tavares is likely to command in the $10 million range for average annual value over the next seven years, and the latter part is key. While it would certainly be challenging to have three players eating up at least $10 million each in cap space — with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews at $10.5 million — they could make it work in the short term.

But signing Tavares to a seven-year deal would probably get in the way of the Blackhawks' longer-term goals, which includes re-signing Alex DeBrincat and Nick Schmaltz when their entry-level deals expire and even Vinnie Hinostroza when his new two-year contract ends.

Are the Blackhawks willing to risk that?

For Tavares, maybe. But Toews is 30, Kane is 29 and Tavares will be 28 by the time this upcoming season starts. At some point, an infusion of youth would be required to remain competitive for the long term.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa's 18th homer of June and 31st of the season came off the Tigers in the Cubs' brief 2-game Interleague series in Detroit. 

Sosa connected in the first inning off Tigers starter Seth Greisinger, going back-to-back with Mickey Morandini. 

The Cubs wound up getting out to a 5-0 start in the game but still lost 7-6 on a Gabe Alvarez single in the bottom of the 11th.

The aforementioned Morandini homer was only the 3rd of the season for the Cubs second baseman. He finished with 8 homers on the year and 224 total bases on 172 hits in what was a very good offensive season. Yet it paled in comparison to Sosa, who had nearly 200 more total bases (416) and a slugging percentage nearly 200 points above Morandini's (.647 to .471), a testament to how truly incredible Sosa's season was.

Fun fact: Tony Clark was the Tigers' cleanup hitter that day. Clark is now the head of the MLB Players Union.

Fun fact No. 2: Paul Bako was the Detroit catcher in the game. He later became the Cubs backup catcher in 2003 and 2004, when he posted a .611 OPS in 119 games over the two years.