Just in case you'd forgotten about the fragility of Derrick Rose, the basketball gods had a timely reminder for us all.
En route to his best and most efficient performance of the season, scoring 23 points on 9-18 shooting (including 2-2 from three), the hapless point guard would roll his ankle in the fourth quarter of the Bulls 96-95 win against the Indiana Pacers on Monday.
Already impaired and dealing with the constraints of double vision, the toiling Rose hadn't performed well through the opening nine games of the regular season. Averaging a meager 12.6 points per game on 35.9 percent shooting, Rose was content in taking a backseat to Jimmy Butler amid his period of struggle.
Yeah, trying to get him to shoot more, man, especially with what I’m dealing with. Certain games, I’m going to have it. Other games, I’m not. I know it’s part of the process.
Those comments are encouraging on many levels, but they also add to the disappointment we all suffer when watching Rose leave yet another game through injury.
Against old division rivals, Indiana Pacers, this was certainly a game where Rose "had it". Suffering his own injury issues, George Hill would not suit up against the Bulls, allowing Rose to be guarded by the defensively inferior, Monta Ellis. With the Pacers already lacking in rim protection, Rose would have a favorable match up, one he would take advantage of.
Dominant early, the Bulls guard would live in the driving lanes, connecting on six of his nine field goals from 16 feet or within. Scoring came with ease, as did the assists. Racking up 6 dimes (and 0 turnovers) in 33 minutes, Rose's floor game looked as good as it had all season.
Looking promising and trending towards stability, as they've done to him countless times before, injuries would strike Derrick Rose.
On a baseline drive, the left ankle of the guard would roll slightly as he lunged into his driving steps. Though not severe, the sprain was significant enough to send Rose to the locker room, and rightfully so, he wouldn't return to the game.
With Rose done for the night, despite their best efforts in allowing the Pacers to steal a game they hadn't led at any point, the Bulls would hang onto the win, taking their season record to 7-3.
Jimmy Butler would save the Bulls with a last second block on Paul George. Typically, you would expect this highlight play to dominate post game discussion, however, with Rose limping, attention quickly turned to the severity of his ankle sprain.
It remains to be seen if Derrick Rose will miss any games, but thankfully, it doesn't appear to be much of an issue.
Derrick Rose says he has a "regular" ankle sprain and will get treatment. He doesn't know if he will miss any time.
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) November 17, 2015
Rose: "it's nothing big it's just an ankle injury."
— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) November 17, 2015
Any and all afflictions Derrick Rose suffers going forward, will bring with them worrisome chatter about the likelihood of the fallen star ever finding his previously elite self. We will all wonder if the over-reliance on Rose is a sustainable model for success, or if it's more likely to lead to continued disappointment.
Correctly, too, with very grimace and slow-to-get-up movements, existing questions and concerns pertaining to the Bulls lack of depth at the point guard position, will only been heightened.
Aaron Brooks received his first DNP of the season against the Pacers and may find himself out of the rotation. Kirk Hinrich has returned from his own injury concerns, and much to the dismay of many, Fred Hoiberg has played the aging Captain as his first guard off the bench. E'Twaun Moore, though receiving substantially more playing time under Hoiberg, has yet to establish a clear and defined role on this team, even if he does deserve more minutes.
Set to begin a four game road trip, with their next two games being against the in-rhythm Phoenix Suns and unbeaten Golden State Warriors, Rose will need to be fine if the Chicago expect to continue their positive start to the season.
Should he miss time, the Bulls' alternative solution for Derrick Rose, put simply, is a horrid one. Eric Bledsoe, in an impressive 10 game stretch, has averages of 23.2 points on 49.7 percent shooting, 6.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds, along with his stellar defense. I've also heard Stephen Curry is pretty decent, too.
For Derrick Rose and fans all over, here's to hoping this latest issue is only a minor one with little repercussions, and not the start of something more sinister.
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