With back pain continuing, Rose will see a specialist

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With back pain continuing, Rose will see a specialist

BOSTON When it first occurred, Derrick Roses lower back spasms were a mild concern, but not something viewed as a long-term situation. Now, its a serious issue.

Its been going on for a couple of games. It started first time I remember it happening was in high school but college, I didnt have it. First couple of years, I didnt have it. Just all of a sudden, it just happened now and hopefully tomorrow, meet with some people and try to figure something out, a downcast Rose said before Sundays contest against the Celtics, which he sat out of. It was the whole trip, but I just played through it. The more I played through it, it tended to get worse after every game. At the time, I was really worried about it, but just tried to stay positive and hopefully Ill be all right.

I dont know the diagnosis. I dont know what to call it, but I just know my back is not right, continued the Eastern Conference All-Star starter, who was seen being stretched out on the sideline during the second game of the Bulls nine-game road trip, in Washington. I dont remember when it started. It just came from out of nowhere, man. Thats the scary thing about it.

Throughout this whole trip, its been bothering me. If you see me during the game or whenever Im out of the game, Im always getting stretched and Im usually not getting stretched at all, unless its before the game. It was getting tight then, but I was able to play through it and it was getting worse the longer I was playing.

Rose will see a specialist Monday when the Bulls return to Chicago, but wouldnt speculate on whether hed play in the teams next game, Tuesday against Sacramento at the United Center.

Probably go see some people tomorrow, have them look at it. But I dont know yet, he said. I cant say Im going to be out. If I feel good tomorrow, Im definitely going to play then, but I dont know yet.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, who started C.J. Watson in Roses place, indicated that the organization would be cautious with Rose.

Its not cleared up as much as we would like right now. He still has a little bit of stiffness, so we decided its better to sit him out of this one, he said. Once we get back home, well have a chance to go see a specialist and well go from there.

Well, youre always concerned. Its something that hes had before. He had it when he was in high school, so were hopeful it gets cleared up shortly, but we want to make sure.

Backs are tricky, so thats why hes going to see a specialist tomorrow, he added. Well, theyre always looking at players. We feel real good about C.J. and John Lucas has played extremely well for us, so were confident in him and of course, we have Ronnie, who can go to the point as well. If we act, fine. If not, were good with what we have.

Rose said the injury has been increasingly painful since his last game, Wednesday in New Orleans.

I definitely felt it those games and I thought it was something that would easily go away, but its just been lingering on, he said. Its killing me right now, not being able to play or when I do play, my minutes are definitely down. Not being healthy, its getting to me, especially this game. Just got to stay positive and hope for the best.

I really couldnt move out there, but we won the game against the Hornets. Thats all that matters to me. If Im out there, just try to do anything to make us win, Rose added. I could barely walk. Hopefully I get treatment and it goes away or calms down. Then, Ill be able to play. But if not, take my time.

Rose also detailed the decision-making process as to whether he plays.

Usually, before the game. It goes back and forth, but its really my decision. If I feel good nobody can tell me how I feel but myself so I feel good, Im going to try to go. But during the game, if its hurting or were up, weve got a big lead or something, I can definitely sit out. Now, its just hurting a little bit more, said the reigning league MVP, who has played through injuries in the past. Not being able to move, its a whole other thing.

Its usually up to me if I want to play. If I feel good the morning I wake up or after I get done shooting, or warming up, Ill be able to play, but if not, Ill definitely let them know, but if not, Ill be able to sit down, continued Rose, who has been receiving constant treatment. Its just not going down yet. Ive got to be able to move, get up without hurting, be myself.

Right when I feel theres no pain there anymore, thats when Ill be ready.

Rose wouldnt speculate if he would participate in the Feb. 26 All-Star Game in Orlando.

Thats too far to really think about that. I havent thought about it. It could be tomorrow, where I wake up and it feels good. I remember in high school, I didnt get any treatment or anything. I just knew that I took a couple days off and I was able to play downstate and I didnt feel it. Hopefully its the same thing, said Rose.

While Rose was crestfallen about missing the final game of the Bulls long road swing, he was confident that his teammates could make up for his absence.

I think everybody is definitely important on this team. We have people on this team that dont think that theyre bigger than this team or bigger than this organization. The thing is, we have a deep team. If one of us goes out, the other guy comes in and does the job and thats what makes us a special team, I think. I know that if Im not playing, I dont have to worry about anything because we have C.J. and J. Luke that come in and play a good game, and they play under pressure well. Im not worried about it. I know that the team is not. I know that we should be prepared tonight and I know that when someones down, someone comes up and plays big, he explained. Thats whats really killing me right now, knowing that Im missing this many games. Its killing me not to be out there, but as long as were winning games, Im happy.

The injury doesnt bother me because Im so young, but its my first time missing this many games, period in life, period. It hurts, not being to be out there with my team. I was a guy that was always on the court or if I was injured, miss a game or two and then Id be back, but to miss this many games and knowing that were playing great dont get me wrong, Im loving that were winningbut to not be out there, it hurts, he continued. I think I conditioned myself well, prepared myself well for this season. I wouldnt say its too much the season. I think its just something that just happened. I didnt have any big falls on my back or anything. Its just something that I woke up and my back was tight. Just cant really get rid of it right now.

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott wasn’t exactly hunting for his first shot, but the first time he touched the ball in an NBA game in nearly a month wasn’t the optimal situation for him to let one fly.

It wasn’t in transition where he runs to an opening behind the 3-point line, nor was it a drive-and-kick situation where the help defense collapsed and left him open. It was a regular, simple, pass to the perimeter and McDermott’s defender was in reasonable proximity with 3:23 left in the first quarter.

He launched and the crowd soon roared its approval as his sweet jumper was sorely missed by the Bulls bench brigade—and moments later when he ran the floor for a fearless layup that caused Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to call a timeout, McDermott showed he missed the United Center crowd too, calling for more noise on his way to the bench.

“Anytime you have a guy like Doug, he comes back and makes his first 3, that’s hard to do,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He stepped up with confidence on that first shot. I’m sure he had a lot of nerves getting back out there.”

Missing 12 games and suffering two concussions, McDermott looked right at home in 25 minutes of run Thursday as the Bulls were able to rely on their reserves in some form in their 95-91 win over the previously perfect road warriors known as the Spurs.

“We defended and kept them off the foul line,” McDermott said. “Coach (Jim) Boylen was with them, so we feel we know them and I think all this time they were missing my defense.”

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The last statement was certainly tongue-in-cheek, but the Bulls’ bench production was certainly missing in action while he was out with the concussion protocol. So much so that his return prompted the Bulls’ coaching staff to call out the reserves in the morning shootaround, demanding more.

“It’s definitely Dwyane (Wade) and Jimmy (Butler) and (Rajon) Rondo (but) the coaching staff kinda called out our bench like, we gotta have you tonight, bench,” McDermott said. “We took that to heart, we were really locked in.”

Seemingly his presence aided the Bulls’ spirits and production, as the Bulls’ bench had the least effective scoring bench in the NBA since Nov. 13, the day after McDermott hit the unforgiving floor against the Wizards for his second concussion this season.

Their net rating ranks ahead of only the Wizards, Mavericks and Nets, who are a combined 17-45 this season. Their effective field goal percentage, which takes into account 3-pointers, is worst in the league in that span (42.3 percent).

When McDermott was healthy for that smaller sample size, the Bulls’ bench ranked fifth in offensive efficiency, seventh in net rating, and fifth in efficient field goal percentage. Whether McDermott – and his absence – was directly related to those numbers, it’s clear the Bulls are better when they have their best reserve – and only true floor spacers on the second unit – on the court.

“We’re all professionals and we want to help the guys who are busting their butts in the first unit to get us the leads,” McDermott said. “Tonight we did a great job of sustaining it. We take it personal when teams come back on us.”

[MORE: Pau Gasol relishes consistency with Spurs he couldn't find with Bulls]

Nikola Mirotic was four of eight from the field, and Cristiano Felicio seems to be back in Fred Hoiberg’s good graces as he’s carved out a rotation spot for himself with nine points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes.

It seems as if Hoiberg will stick with this rotation of players, at least for a little while until Michael Carter-Williams returns from his injuries. If McDermott is the mark of the Bulls’ bench going from bottom feeder to adequate, it should show this month.

“When he’s out there on the floor and we get him coming off screens, it forces the defense to shift as another person they need to be aware of,” Hoiberg said. “It opens up driving lanes for our guys. It was great to have Doug back with us.”

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

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