CHICAGO – Derrick Rose struggled as he pulled on his socks. He winced as he tugged up his jeans. Several times in the Chicago Bulls’ postgame dressing room Monday night, as he shrugged and wiggled into his clothes using his left hand almost exclusively, Rose closed his eyes, paused and breathed.
Yeah, even that seemed to hurt.
The Bulls’ dynamic playmaker, who so far this season has fans excited for their next Michael Jordan, looked more like vintage Dwyane (Splat!) Wade down the stretch of Chicago’s 92-73 victory over the Indiana Pacers at United Center. With 5:30 left in the fourth quarter, Rose rolled his left ankle and went down in the backcourt, prompting a Bulls timeout and few uneasy minutes until he walked back onto the court.
With two minutes left, Rose drove from the left wing, soared toward the rim and got clipped when Indiana’s Brandon Rush slid over. The Bulls guard toppled forward and nearly face-planted, taking most of the impact with his chest. It knocked the wind out of Rose and took the collective breath from a crowd of 21,287.
Rose stayed in the game after that one, too, hitting one of two free throws. But later, he was a sight for, er, sore eyes, with both ankles plunged into ice baths, ice bags strapped to both knees and his right wrist iced somewhere beneath a towel that covered his entire arm.
“My whole body’s sore now. But I should be all right,” he said. The way Rose figured it, the doctors who checked out his X rays [they were negative] back in the Bulls’ trainers room would have brought him back there if they had found anything worse than a bad bruise or sprain.
“I thought it was going to be worse than that,” Rose said. “Knocked the wind out of me. Most people, when they jump that high, they usually get hurt pretty bad. Thank God I didn’t break anything, I think.”
No one corrected Rose. Most people don’t jump that high.
A bit later, Bulls center Joakim Noah was talking about his point guard when Rose, back from the showers, hobbled past, bent over and walking gingerly. “Look at him, man. He’s too young to be looking like that,” Noah said.
“Ah, he’ll be all right. It’s ugly. I hate to see him fall, obviously. He’s such a big part of what we’re trying to do. My little brother, y’know. But he’s tough. He’s a warrior. We’ve got a day off tomorrow. I know he’ll be ready to go [at Toronto Wednesday].”
It turns out that Rose often gives Noah pep talks when the big man scrapes himself off the court. Now it was Noah’s turn. “Like he always tells me – he always tells me this, every time I fall and hurt myself – ‘Mind over matter. Mind over matter.’ All the time. So he’ll be fine.”
Better wait on that at least until Rose is dressing with two hands again.
Check the highlights: