Toe, back and groin injuries have cost Derrick Rose large chunks of playing time over the past few months, limiting the reigning league MVP to just 35 appearances in his Chicago Bulls' 57 games this season. Now, just one game after making his return in Sunday's 100-99 overtime loss to the New York Knicks, the Bulls' point guard may once again find himself on the shelf, thanks to a whole new ailment.
Derrick Rose's groin injury and Richard Hamilton's shoulder soreness appear to be in the past, but that doesn't mean painful subjects don't remain for the Bulls.
Rose, for starters, tweaked an ankle at some point in Sunday's game, which he finished. The extent of the injury is unknown, however sources said Rose wore a walking boot on Monday and his availability for Tuesday's shot at redemption against the Knicks is a game-time decision.
Johnson's sources didn't specify which foot was booted up. Rose wore a walking boot on his left foot back in January while suffering from turf toe, and on the same foot during the 2011 playoffs after spraining his left ankle against the Indiana Pacers.
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Even if Rose can't go, all's not lost for the Eastern Conference-leading Bulls, of course — Tom Thibodeau's team has proven quite skilled at operating without its star point guard this season.
The Bulls have gone 15-7 in the 22 games Rose has missed due to injury, thanks to the kind of strong play from reserve point men C.J. Watson and John Lucas III that, combined with support from fellow second-unit stalwarts Taj Gibson and Omer Asik, leads to trollgazing headlines like the one that just appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Chicago is still very capable of exacting some revenge for Carmelo Anthony's 43-point Easter performance at the United Center on Tuesday night.
The bigger concern, though, is getting Rose in proper working order for the kind of long playoff run that fans and observers tend to expect from the team with the best record in the NBA this season.
Rose showed some rust in his Sunday return, missing 18 of his 26 field-goal attempts, turning the ball over eight times and not really getting on track until the third quarter; any setbacks he suffers from here through the end of the regular season can only make it more difficult for him to find his rhythm and round into form, whether they result in missed time or merely in degraded performance. It looks like we'll have to wait until tip-off of Tuesday night's nationally televised rematch to find out which, if either, this latest tweak signals.
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