The most thrilling play Derrick Rose made in Monday night’s 96-81 victory over Cleveland at the United Center was also his most frightening.
The point guard’s acrobatic transition layup to give the Bulls an 83-76 lead with 3:39 remaining in the fourth quarter ended with an awkward landing, a grimace, slight hobble and with 3:15 on the clock, Rose being replaced in the contest, very reluctantly, by Kirk Hinrich. The injury, described by Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau as a “minor” right-hamstring “tweak,” will have three days before being tested in another game situation—including Tuesday’s day off from practice; the Bulls next play Friday in Toronto—but given Rose’s injury history and season-long absence in the prior campaign, it’s the subject of much concern, even as he attempted to downplay its severity.
“It’s just a minor sprain, nothing serious. Hopefully I’ll be better in a couple days, but it’s nothing big at all,” Rose said. “I remember coming down the court. I really didn’t feel it until I came down and went back to the bench, and they were asking me about it. Coming back in, there was a play where somebody knocked the ball out of bounds or something like that and they said I wasn’t moving good enough to be out on the court, so they came and subbed me out.
“It had to be on the drive. But stuff happens. I’ve just got to play through it and get back healthy,” he continued. “If I knew, I would tell you. But I don’t know if it was before or it was after. I don’t know if it was during when I was running down the court or right when I took off. I really don’t know. I was too caught up in the play.”
When asked if he would be ready to go in Friday night’s away game against the Raptors, Rose responded, “I should be. It’s nothing big at all. I’m still able to walk around, move around the way I want to. Just a little sore.”
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In fact, Rose was more irked about having to leave the eventual Bulls’ win than the injury itself, when asked to choose which bothered him the most.
“I think more coming out of the game,” replied the former league MVP, who later walked, if with a slight limp, not with an overly noticeable one, down a virtually empty United Center hallway. “I just love being in those type of situations, playing against a great young team and I wanted to be out there.”
Thibodeau confirmed that taking Rose out of the game was related to the injury
“Yeah, just to get him out,” the coach said. “He tweaked it. He’ll be re-evaluated tomorrow. We’ll have more information then. It appears to be minor.
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“He’ll be evaluated further, but minor hamstring.”
Who knows if this latest development lingers on and on or it’s a moot issue by the weekend, when the Bulls play back-to-back games in Toronto, then a home rematch against the Pacers. But either way, one of Rose’s teammates, Carlos Boozer may have put it best.
“I feel bad for him. He works his butt off every day, whether it’s rehab, lifting, shooting, whatever it is. You guys see him out there. He puts the time in, so I feel bad for him, so hopefully whatever he’s got going on right now isn’t that bad. I hope the severity of it isn’t too bad,” the power forward explained. “Obviously our whole thing this season is the long run of the season. Right now, it’s still Week 2 of the NBA season, so hopefully it’s not that serious. But we’d like him to be healthy, just for him. He had a tough year last year, a lot of pressure on him. You guys, you’re all over him this year. Give the kid a break. He does a lot of stuff that’s great for us and us as his teammates, we’ve got his back, we support him every day and hopefully it’s not that bad of an injury.”