Derrick Rose leaves game with knee injury, MRI results coming tonight
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter November 22, 2013 11:24PM
Updated: December 24, 2013 6:19AM
PORTLAND, Ore. — Tom Thibodeau rarely shows emotion off the court.
But seeing Derrick Rose once again shirtless and inching his way through a locker room on crutches late Friday night, as the rest of the team was trying to get showered and on the bus, well, a coach can only stay ice for so long.
“Again, I don’t want to speculate on what it is and what it might be, other than my concern for him,’’ Thibodeau said. “I know how much work he has put into his rehab and the type of person and player he is. So, concern for that. I feel for him because of all the things that he does mean to our team.’’
With under four minutes left in the third quarter, Rose was making a back cut, landed awkwardly on his right leg, and was soon out of the game with trainers huddled around him.
Then as if it was the nightmare of the 2012 playoffs all over again, Rose was helped off the bench before the fourth quarter could start, and brought back to the locker room.
The last time a scene like that played out for the Bulls, Rose’s left anterior cruciate ligament was shredded, and he missed 18 months of basketball.
“We’re not sure,’’ Thibodeau said of the latest diagnosis. “[Portland’s] doctor looked at him. He’s scheduled to have an MRI [Saturday] when we get to L.A.’’
Rose was not talking to reporters after the game, but there were some signs that it might not be as serious. When teammates went and checked on him after the 98-95 loss to the Trail Blazers, the early comments were Rose was upbeat and positive.
“He didn’t seem nervous,’’ teammate Taj Gibson said. “Of course he’s a competitor, he was more focused on us trying to pull that win out.
“Right now, the focus is what that MRI will say. But he’s having good hopes, his head was high. He wasn’t down, feeling sorry for himself.’’
Secondly, Rose was on crutches, but was putting a bit more pressure on the leg on his way to the locker. When he was helped off the court at the end of the third quarter, he was putting almost no pressure on the knee and noticeably wincing.
“We’ve been there before,’’ forward Luol Deng said of the loss of Rose. “Guys have just got to pick it up. Obviously it’ll be a setback, not having him, but we’ve been there before, so we’ve just got to play together.’’
Unfortunately for the Bulls, losing the first two of a six-game road trip doesn’t make things easier, especially with the next game in Los Angeles against the Clippers.
They showed last season that they can function without Rose for long stretches, but the idea of this being a championship team if Rose is hurt long-term? Well, that becomes a stretch.
“We’ll take it step by step,’’ Thibodeau said. “We have to figure that part out. And we will. The games are going to keep coming. No one will feel sorry for us. So we’re going to have to be ready.’’