Derrick Rose, who injured his left ankle going up for a layup in Game 4, will give it a go in Game 5. The Bulls and Indiana Pacers will resume the series Tuesday in Chicago.
When Rose first went down late in the first quarter of Game 4, many felt it could be a serious injury to the leading MVP candidate. Luckily, it was not, but he was seen during Sunday's practice wearing a walking boot. However, it was more precautionary than anything.
Rose, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, didn't practice with the team today but was on the sidelines wearing flip-flops and will undergo a pain-killing shot before the game. The downgrade from walking boot to flip-flops is a good sign, and Rose is very confident that his status has improved enough for him to play in Game 5.
"It's getting better every day," Rose said. "I've been getting treatment
on it the last couple of days. I've been coming in in the morning and
again at night. Hopefully it will be ready. It's not broken, so I'm
Rose played nearly 33 minutes with a sprained left ankle on Saturday, and during that time span, he shot just 3-for-16. The explosion off the ground and off the dribble wasn't up to par, and it was evident he was laboring during the game.
However, after his two-handed dunk -- yes, he did scratch his back -- midway through the second quarter, it seemed like Rose was OK, but his jumper was flat and the quickness just wasn't what Bulls fans have seen this season.
"There are no excuses if you're still playing," Rose said. "If I was out
there, I should've changed. I'm going to change some things. I didn't.
If anything, I just missed shots. All my shots were short. I twisted my
ankle but there are no excuses. Just legs and follow through. I have a
lot of confidence in my shot. That game, I was just off."
"The swelling is down a little," Rose said. "There's still some in
there. It hurts more on the inside but I'm fine. After I take the shot, I
shouldn't feel anything. Hopefully, I can still perform.
Rose is a gamer -- it'll take more than a sprained ankle to keep him out. It will be very interesting to see how he fares in Game 5. How will the ankle react during the game? Will it prevent him from being aggressive going to the basket -- something he admitted to after Game 4?
The Bulls will go as far as Rose takes them. So far, so good, as they're up 3-1 on the Pacers. But there's no coincidence that their lone loss came in a game in which Rose shot 6-for-22, scoring just five points in the 15 points.
"I think he's fine," Coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He's feeling a little better. We
held him out to give him a little more rest. He's doing a good job of
getting his treatment. They've gotten the swelling down. Hopefully he'll
be ready to go."
Rose is tough; he'll battle through a bum ankle to play in Game 5. But will he play up to the MVP level we've been so use to witnessing?
I'd bet on it.