Chicago Bulls superstar point guard Derrick Rose sat out his team’s Saturday night game against the Minnesota Timberwolves with yet another injury.
Spraining Both Ankles
The 2011 NBA season MVP sprained both his ankles during his team’s 108-114 OT loss to LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers last Friday. Rose rolled his left ankle when he landed on the back of Kyrie Irving’s left foot with four minutes left in the second quarter of the game. Rose Also tweaked his right ankle during that game but it wasn’t as serious. Rose continued playing in the game, but went to the locker room during the fourth quarter and didn’t finish the game.
Despite the loss to the Cavs, Rose was in high spirits when he exited the locker room as X-rays taken after the game were negative and his ankles had little swelling.
Scratched From Line-up
But on Saturday night, the Bulls made several line-up changes before the ballgame started. Rose was listed as a starter 30 minutes before the game. Fifteen minutes later, they changed his status to active but coming off the bench. Then a couple minutes before opening tip-off, they totally scratched him from the game’s line-up.
While this may be seen as another red flag in Rose’s brittle health, the decision to sit out Saturday’s game was seen as precautionary. Rose said that if he was really needed in that game, he could have played. But it was just the third game of the season and they were playing against the Minnesota Timberwolves so playing last Saturday was secondary to his health.
Return to Contention
Rose is the man who has been tasked to put the Chicago Bulls to where Michael Jordan six times took them and he has resembled every bit of a savior when he has been healthy. But he has played just a total of 10 games in the previous two seasons after suffering two severe knee injuries. His return to basketball action in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup was a sigh of relief from the Bulls who have been aching to get back into title contention with their MVP and team leader.
The Bulls made one of the biggest makeovers in the offseason, bringing in Pau Gasol and Aaron Brooks from free agency, signing international star Nikola Mirotic and the drafting rookie Doug McDermott. The return of Rose was to complete this formidable team which has been cast to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.
Rose is the Key
The Bulls narrowly beat the Wolves 106-105 last Saturday to improve to 2-1 in the season. Pau Gasol has averaged 18.5 points and 8.7 rebounds in the first three games, while Aaron Brooks has also averaged in double digits with 13.3 points per contest. Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy and Kirk Hinrich make the Bulls a very solid playoff team, even without Derrick Rose. But remember they faltered without their MVP in last year’s playoffs.
Rose and Coach Tom Thibodeau feel that this latest injury is just minor and Rose will be back as early as their next game. But expect more scenarios like this to happen as the season progresses, as the Bulls have made it clear that they will make Rose’s health their top priority. GM Gar Foreman said in the offseason that the front office will rest Rose if he “doesn’t feel right”. Saturday was a clear example of that. And although the Bulls are okay with that arrangement, issues on cohesion and continuity will soon arise if Rose is “in and out” of their line-up. It’a tough balancing act for Coach Thibs, but it’s something that he and the team will have to live with if they want Rose to be there with them come playoff time.