Just when it seemed Derrick Rose would play three straight games for the first time in over a month, he sat out the Chicago Bulls’ lackluster 87-84 loss to the Washington Wizards on Monday night because of a sore right foot.
It marked Rose’s fifth different injury and 24th missed game this season. To make matters worse for the Bulls, versatile forward Luol Deng, who celebrated his 27th birthday Monday, was also sidelined against the Wizards due to the sore ribs he suffered in the fourth quarter of Sunday evening’s 100-94 overtime win over the Detroit Pistons.
After Monday’s defeat, Tom Thibodeau was not sure whether Rose would travel with the team to start the upcoming two-game road trip, but the Bulls’ coach admitted he’s worried about his star point guard’s latest ailment. Rose had missed just six games in the first three seasons of his NBA career, but he has struggled to stay on the court and has piled up a long list of injuries this year, including a turf toe, lower back spasms, a groin strain and a sprained right ankle.
“I’m always concerned. He’s missed a lot of games,” Thibodeau told reporters. “I’m concerned about that.”
Rose indeed joined the Bulls on the team flight to Charlotte after tests did not reveal a major issue, according to multiple reports. Both Rose and Deng, who leads the league in minutes per game at 39.5, are day-to-day.
In place of Rose and Deng, C.J. Watson and Ronnie Brewer were inserted into the starting lineup and combined for 23 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and six steals against the Wizards.
Even though the Bulls limped to their 15th loss of the season on Monday, Rose’s status moving forward remains the primary concern for coaches, teammates and fans alike. The reigning league MVP’s latest injury does not appear to be serious, but the Bulls have been adamant throughout the season that they will err on the side of caution with a hurt player, especially Rose, who bailed Chicago out with the clutch game-tying three-pointer in regulation of Sunday’s victory.
The Bulls had an off day Tuesday and play a back-to-back set on Wednesday and Thursday night against the Bobcats and Miami Heat, respectively. Deng, who continues to nurse a torn ligament in his left wrist, has missed 10 games overall and could very well receive an additional day of rest before the matchup versus the Heat in Miami.
Updated: April 17, 2012, 8:45 p.m. CT