Derrick Rose certainly wasn't his normal explosive self on Saturday in the Bulls' 89-84 loss to the Indiana Pacers in Game 4, but gave the Bulls just under 33 minutes after suffering the injury, albeit hobbling around.
Rose injured his left ankle late in the first quarter as cameras showed him rolling the ankle while going up for a layup. Impressively, he made the layup, but came down with a significant limp and even went into the locker room. It was short-lived, though, as Rose came back to the bench minutes later.
The Bulls cut the Pacers lead to one point late in the game, but could never get over the hump. It didn't help that they had an injured, less aggressive Rose. And even after being in a walking boot on Sunday, there's no doubt Rose will play in Game 5 in Chicago.
Rose had an MRI on his left ankle Sunday afternoon, however, thankfully, it was negative and confirmed a sprain, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
Ankle sprains are never easy to deal with, and if anything, they worsen as the days go on -- usually because of the increase in swelling. Thankfully, that wasn't the case for Rose one day after spraining his left ankle.
"Hopefully, he'll be ready (Tuesday)," Thibodeau said. "When we ask him,
he says he's fine. (Athletic trainer) Fred (Tedeschi) said (Rose) has a
little soreness, but he said the swelling isn't bad."
Rose missed one game this season, coming in a 97-96 road loss to the Denver Nuggets on November 26. He has only missed six games in his three seasons in the NBA. Point being, unless seriously injured, Rose doesn't miss games. He's a competitor; even though he wasn't at 100 percent in Game 4, Rose gutted it out.
"One hundred percent he'll play [in Game 5]," C.J. Watson, Rose's backup, said.
Rose, the MVP-to-be, will play Tuesday night as the Bulls will look to clinch their first round matchup with the Pacers. However, the way he looked at the end of Game 4, he might not be his usual dominant self.
"When you twist your ankle as a guard, you can easily go back in there
and play," he said Saturday. "My thing was just keep it moving and hurry
up and put me back in the game."
Rose is truly an amazing player, but his intangibles, such as durability and reliability, shouldn't be overlooked . It doesn't matter if he's injured, limping, hobbled up, whatever, he's going to continue to play through it and do anything he can to help his team win. Things didn't go the way he hoped in Game 4, as Rose scored just five points in the second half and went 3-for-16 after the ankle injury, but the Bulls start and finish with Rose.
Sprained ankle or not, the Bulls need Rose out there to win games. He knows it, they know it. Now we'll just have to wait and see how healthy that ankle is Tuesday in Game 5.