Rose's Ankle Injury a Thorn in Season Outlook

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Rose's Ankle Injury a Thorn in Season Outlook

Tuesday, October 20th

by Mark Schanowski
CSNChicago.com

When Derrick Rose twisted his ankle in the preseason opener at Indiana back October 2nd, no one thought it was a big deal. After all, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year was able to finish the game, scoring 17 points in a Bulls victory. But a couple of days on the sidelines turned into a week, then two weeks, and now Vinny Del Negro admits there's a possibility Rose won't be ready to play in the regular season opener against San Antonio October 29th. Derrick admitted today his ankle was sore after 20 minutes of drill work and sprints on Monday.

So, where would the Bulls be without Derrick Rose in the lineup at the start of the season? We'd love to hear your comments in the section below.

Rose insists there's no way he'll sit out the game against the Spurs, but if his ankle isn't 100 percent, does he really have a choice? The Bulls aren't going to take any chances with their franchise player, who just turned 21 earlier this month. We know he'll be back in the short term, but the question is, how much will his absence from training camp hurt the Bulls' offense? Vinny Del Negro and his staff have put in a whole new offense, emphasizing ball movement and weak-side cuts to the basket. Last season, their bread-and-butter play was the high screen and roll with Rose and one of the Bulls big men, either Joakim Noah, Brad Miller or Tyrus Thomas. Now Derrick will be asked to initiate the offense and keep the ball moving, rather than relying on his superior athletic ability to allow him to beat his man and get to the basket. Getting repetitions in practice is the best way to make sure everything is running smoothly when the regular season begins. Rose also needs to improve his on the ball defense and missing training camp won't help him in that area either.

Bottom line, the Bulls are asking Rose to take a big step forward in his second NBA season and they need him at his best for the team to return to the playoffs. We've seen during the preseason the Bulls should have better depth with the addition of Jannero Pargo and the two first round draft picks. Also, having John Salmons and Miller for a full season will be a big plus. But it all starts with the guy wearing the 1 jersey, and given the difficult schedule the Bulls are facing in the month of November, he better get back as soon as possible.

For more on Derrick and the Bulls outlook for the season, make sure to check out the interview I did with Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro earlier this week. It's posted in our multimedia section.

Where do you think the Bulls will finish in the Eastern Conference this season? Sounds like a good jumping off point for some lively debate.

Mark Schanowski hosts our Bulls pre and post game studio coverage with 15-year NBA veteran Kendall Gill. You can also watch Mark on SportsNite Sunday through Thursday at 6:30 and 10.

Robin Lopez on when he knew he'd be suspended: 'When I threw a punch'

Robin Lopez on when he knew he'd be suspended: 'When I threw a punch'

Most NBA players have to let their adrenaline come down before the reality of what's coming next begins to hit them, but Robin Lopez had his moment of clarity at the oddest time during his altercation with Toronto's Serge Ibaka on Tuesday night.

When asked when he knew he would be serving at least a one-game suspension for his missed punch in the fourth quarter of their loss to the Raptors, Lopez said, "When I threw a punch."

The process from the NBA to Lopez was pretty straightforward, and Lopez called the one-game suspension "fair."

Ditching the caveman look for a clean shaven appearance at Friday morning's shootaround, Lopez seemed at ease with what happened and wasn't going to contest the one-game decision, especially since the NBA could've gone with two or three games as no precedent has been set for fighting this season.

"I mean, that's what the league gave. I'm going to stick with it," Lopez said, adding, "I didn't change my story."

The multiple camera angles would've made it impossible to believe a different recollection of the events had Lopez attempted to finagle himself out of the one-game suspension that stopped his 71-game starting streak with the Bulls this season.

[BULLS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

His matter-of-fact statement after an emotionally charged incident didn't hurt the Bulls. They beat the Pistons by 20 as Lopez was serving a banishment that ended his streak of 187 consecutive games played. But he was happy Joffrey Lauvergne got a chance to prove his worth.

Lauvergne had 17 points and seven rebounds Wednesday night, and he'll be behind Lopez against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night as Cristiano Felicio is recovering from a hard fall late in the Raptors game.

"He's very versatile. He's a playmaker, he can score from a lot of different spots on the floor. He's a really smart basketball player," Lopez said of Lauvergne. "I always want to be out there with the guys. But they took care of business and did their thing. So I was pleased to see them pick up the win."

Picking up two in a row shouldn't be a monumental task against the 76ers, though they are 3-3 in their last six games and the Bulls haven't won two in a row in nearly a month as their grip on a playoff spot has loosened.

For the moment, the Bulls sit ninth in the East, a full game behind the surging Miami Heat, with a 34-38 record. Teams with nothing to lose can be playoff spoilers, and the Bulls have lost more than their share of games to lesser teams this season.

"Those teams do play loose," Lopez said. "They kind of just go out there to play basketball, and that can be a bit dangerous. But we've got something to play for, so we've got to be more motivated. The Sixers especially, they play really well, they have a lot of energy. So we've got to go out there, we've got to play motivated."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will the Bulls make the postseason?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will the Bulls make the postseason?

Ben Finfer (ESPN 1000), Brian Hedger (nhl.com) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) join Kap on the panel.  The Bulls beat the Pistons in a game with huge playoff implication.  So could they actually make the postseason?

The Blackhawks are closing in one division title but what’s their biggest weakness?

Plus Theo Epstein’s a really great leader, Kyle Hendricks is going to have to wait a while to pitch plus DeShone Kizer loves the band “Chicago” but will he play here?