"It's been hurting the whole trip," Rose said. "I just played through it. It tended to get worse after every game. I was really worried about it. But I'm trying to stay positive. I don't know what the diagnosis is. I just know my back is not right."
"It just came from out of nowhere," Rose said. "That's the scary thing about it. ... I could barely walk (after New Orleans). It's killing me not being able to play, especially this game, or when I do play my minutes are definitely down. Hopefully, I'll get treatments and it calms down. If not, I'll take my time."
Quotes courtesy of KC Johnson.
Part of me wants to yell and scream at the Bulls training staff for the treatment of this injury. I thought it was crazy he was playing against New Orleans given the quality of opponent, but Rose also thought this thing would just get better. He's dealt with back spasms before and figured it'd just get better.
There's a fine line between having a warrior mentality and then taking stupid risks with your health. The Bulls obviously crossed that line with Derrick Rose's back. For me, this isn't hindsight as I said it was insane to play him vs New Orleans before the game.
However, given the state of his back now, the correct thing to do what have been to send Rose back to Chicago after Milwaukee to get non stop treatment which is a step I wouldn't have thought of without the power of hindsight. For anyone who's ever traveled on a bad back, it's a terrible experience. All of the travel + playing two games has certainly hindered Rose's recovery significantly.
Had the Bulls been more ultra aggressive early, Rose would probably already be on the mend, may have played against Boston, and might have one additional win this season. Of course, maybe not. Maybe Rose's back is more significant. He's seeing a specialist today, and when specialists are called in it means the standard treatment isn't working.
The Bulls now face the classic dilemma of how much time is enough time for Derrick to recover. With the all-star game coming up, it's not crazy to think of holding him out through all-star weekend if Rose would agree to sit out the game. It'd give him an extra five days of rest without missing game action.
The Bulls have five games prior to the all-star game, all at home, but face a couple tough opponents in Boston, Atlanta, and Milwaukee [who's on and off tough]. They also play the Kings and Nets whom they'd presumably roll over with or without Rose. We'll find out more soon.
As for the Boston game, I recapped it on the podcast, so I'm not going to do a full recap, but here are some quick thoughts.
You're killing me Boozer, you're goddamn killing me
Carlos Boozer turned the ball over in consecutive possessions to lead to consecutive alley oop dunks for the Celtics. At the time, that looked like the dagger, but the Celtics completely crumbled at the end to give the Bulls a chance.
Boozer also decided to laze back on defense repeatedly allowing his man to get past him for open dunks.
He also decided not to do his job in hedging Pierce off the pick and roll to give him a wide open 14 footer which Pierce calmly sank which put the lead back up to five with around a minute left.
Then he called timeout instead of passing the ball to C.J. Watson who had a 20 foot lead on the pack after a leakout costing the Bulls two points in a three point game and using the Bulls final timeout.
Jeff Van Gundy dedicated almost the entire second half to pointing out every lazy play, mistake, and move Carlos made which made watching it all the more painful. Jeff, we know, please don't make it any worse.
Noting the above, and that Joakim was playing really well...
Why the hell is Boozer in the game with the small ball lineup at this point? Joakim had been doing an outstanding job hedging pierce off the pick and roll all night, switching onto him at several points then forcing him into really tough shots that Pierce was missing.
He'd been solid on the glass.
He'd been very good on offense.
Why Thibodeau? Why? I just don't see how you go away from Noah at this point. I won't say that decision definitely cost the Bulls the game, especially given that Boozer did hit two baskets down the stretch [though both were two foot shots with no one blocking him that Noah also probably hits], but I think there's an excellent chance that Noah sees Watson and defends Pierce.
I get where Thibodeau was coming from though, Boozer was giving the Bulls efficient offense while Deng disappeared and Watson was hitting one in three shots. He needed to score and figured Boozer would help him do that. Still would have liked to see Noah in.
Well Luol Deng did a nice job on Pierce...
He blanketed Pierce all game, and Noah [as noted above] did a great job on switches. The result was Paul Pierce didn't do a whole heck of a lot against the Bulls. Really, none of the old big three hard particularly good games.
Unfortunately, Rajon Rondo destroyed Chicago. If Rondo could ever play this way consistently, he'd be a superstar PG. However, he can't. When he does have one of these monster games, the Celtics are really tough to beat, and he whipped one out at the right time.
It's a shame the Bulls didn't have Rose in the game, because I think Rose would have trivially stepped up to the challenge to defending Rondo and then crushing him on the other end of the court.
Will injuries hinder the Bulls shot at the 1 seed?
Who knows how long Derrick Rose will be out?
Hamilton's been out for so long you forget he's even on the team, and we don't know when he's coming back.
Luol Deng is playing with a torn ligament in his wrist which will weigh heavily on the Bulls the rest of the season.
You start adding these things up, and it makes the Bulls pursuit of the one seed much more difficult.
The bright side, if you're desperate for optimism, is that we haven't really seen how good this Chicago team can be yet. We haven't seen them have their full starting lineup and have a chance to gel. If they can get everyone back healthy [say post all-star break] and stay that way, the Bulls still have considerable upside over what they've shown.
So far, they've shown they're as good as any team in the NBA, so upside above that is pretty darn good.