Rose's Ankle Injury a Thorn in Season Outlook


Rose's Ankle Injury a Thorn in Season Outlook

Tuesday, October 20th

by Mark Schanowski

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.

Bulls: Fred Hoiberg, Dwyane Wade soak themselves in Cubs fever

Bulls: Fred Hoiberg, Dwyane Wade soak themselves in Cubs fever

The party that started Saturday night on the north side of town had vibes that stretched all the way west of downtown, as the Chicago Bulls players and coaches soaked themselves in Cubs fever.

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg has been a lifelong Cubs fan due to growing up in Iowa and of course, Dwyane Wade came back home at the right time to witness the Cubs winning the pennant for the first time since 1945.

“It’s been fun, it’s been fun to watch. I’ve talked about how together that team is, how much of confidence, how much of a swagger they play with,” Hoiberg said. “It’s just a fun team that looks like it has unbelievable chemistry.”

Playfully, Hoiberg admitted he went streaking in Wrigleyville after the Cubs finished off the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field—although if he actually had been streaking, Hoiberg probably would’ve blended in with the deliriousness that took place well into Saturday night.

Seriously, though, Hoiberg admires the unity and joy the Cubs have played with all season—embracing the expectations without letting themselves get engulfed in them.

“It’s a team that I think you can learn from with what they’re doing and the backing that they have from the city,” Hoiberg said. “Cubs fans, from the time they’re born like myself, they’re just, it’s been awesome to watch and see the celebration after the game.”

Wade agrees, and having been part of three championship teams, knows chemistry when he sees it.

“That team has figured out a way, even during this series when it looked like their back was against the wall they came out swinging. They stuck together,” Wade said. “You have to support each other. No matter who’s on the basketball court for us, who’s on the bench, it’s all about supporting each other and really caring about the other guy. When you start caring about the other person, you don’t want to let that other person down on the court. You become a better team because of that.”

With the World Series starting Tuesday in Cleveland, Wade and good friend LeBron James will likely make a friendly wager, with the two exchanging playful tweets after the Cubs’ clincher.

“It’s been a long, long, long time, and just obviously I felt the buzz when I got back to the city, and everyone thinking that this was the Cubs’ year,” Wade said. “And they’ve been obviously playing amazing, so it’s great. It’s great to be in Chicago at this time with the Cubs being as successful as they are so far, and so it’s good to be here and it’s good to be a sports fan at this time in Chicago, so it’s good.”

Cleveland has gone from a national sports joke to one with an embarrassment of riches in the past six months, while the Cubs are trying to end the longest championship drought in the four major sports.

“Just pride in your city. Cleveland has obviously had droughts in sports and then he went back there to change that drought from the standpoint of basketball, and they accomplished that,” Wade said. “And now Cleveland is trying to do the same, and they got to a World Series, which has been a drought for them.”

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Luckily for the Bulls—or any Chicago sports fan for that matter—Thursday’s season opener doesn’t conflict with a game, but fans won’t be so lucky next Saturday night. The Bulls will play the Indiana Pacers while the Cubs will host Cleveland for Game 4. Wade doesn’t think he’ll have trouble getting into Wrigley Field, but after Scottie Pippen’s unfortunate rendition of “Take me out to the ballgame” Saturday night, Wade wants an opportunity for a reprieve.

“I know Scottie butchered the 7th-inning stretch. I think me and Jimmy (Butler) and (Rajon) Rondo could do a good job together if they ask us to do it,” Wade said. “It’s just cool to be a part of it.”

Hoiberg summed it up succinctly, likely echoing the beliefs of many long-suffering Cubs fans.

“Four more to go,” Hoiberg said. “I like their chances just because of how confident they’re playing.”

Doug McDermott, Kyle Korver return to Creighton for NBA preseason game

Doug McDermott, Kyle Korver return to Creighton for NBA preseason game

Competing in Nebraska may have been foreign for most Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks players, but Doug McDermott and Kyle Korver were right at home. 

The veterans, who both starred at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., returned to their college stomping grounds for NBA preseason action Thursday night. Korver's Hawks got the best of McDermott's Bulls, 97-81, on Creighton's home floor.

Both had illustrious careers for the Blue Jays basketball squad. McDermott, who graduated in 2014, won the Wooden Award his senior season and is the all-time leading scorer. Korver, as you may have guessed, holds the school record for most three-pointers made. Fans at Thursday's game got a flashback from these glory days, as both logged significant minutes and put up offensive numbers. 

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McDermott didn't have his best shooting night, but knocked down two triples and finished with 16 points. Korver also scored 16, splashing in four from beyond the arc. 

Afterwards, McDermott thanked the Omaha faithful via Twitter.

With the loss, the Bulls' preseason ends with a record of 3-4. They open regular season play on Oct. 27 against the Boston Celtics.