Rose says he’ll play in Game 5

It would probably take a broken bone for Derrick Rose to miss a
playoff game, so consider this good news for the Chicago Bulls.

His sprained left ankle is just that – sprained.

Rose plans to suit up for Game 5 on Tuesday when the Bulls try
again to close out their first-round series with the Indiana
Pacers.

”It’s getting better every day,” he said Monday. ”I’ve been
getting treatment on it the last couple of days, coming in in the
morning, coming in at night, getting treatment. Hopefully, it’ll be
ready tomorrow. It’s not broken so I’m definitely playing.”

The swelling has gone down, and although he plans to get a
painkilling shot before the game, he was in flip flops one day
after wearing a walking boot. He did sit out Monday’s practice, but
the Bulls can breathe a little easier knowing that an MRI confirmed
there was no major structural damage.

Rose sprained his ankle driving to the basket late in the first
quarter of Game 4 on Saturday and wasn’t his usual dominant self as
the Pacers beat Chicago 89-84 to avoid the sweep, finishing with 15
points and 10 assists. He scored just eight points on 3-for-16
shooting after the injury but wasn’t about to use that as an
excuse.

”Just missed shots,” he said. ”There’s no excuses when you’re
still playing. That’s the way I think about it. If I was out there,
I should’ve changed. But I’m going to change some things that I
didn’t. If anything, I just missed shots. All my shots were short.
I twisted my ankle but there are no excuses.”

Rose said he was ”just off.” It was as simple as that.

As for the ankle? He didn’t seem too concerned.

”This one is minor, where it takes a couple of days and it’s
fine,” Rose said. ”If it was broken, I probably would be
panicking or something like that. I’m just happy that the trainers
have been making sure I’m getting my treatment and it’s coming
along fine.”

The Bulls, meanwhile, are getting pushed in a big way after a
posting a league-leading 62 wins and securing homecourt advantage
throughout the playoffs.

They could just as easily be trailing in this series – if not
out of it – considering they rallied to win the first three games
by a combined 15 points. They made a big run in the closing minutes
of Game 4, nearly wiping out a 13-point deficit, but came up
short.

A broken play near the end left Carlos Boozer attempting and
missing his first 3-pointer since the 2007-08 season and helped
keep Indiana’s season going. The Pacers see no reason why it has to
stop now.

”We’ve been in every game, could have won every game,”
Indiana’s Danny Granger said. ”It’s all the confidence we
need.”

The Pacers have frustrated Rose and the Bulls with traps,
throwing the offense out of sync, and they’ve been fouling hard on
shots down low.

That in part explains why Indiana has 67 turnovers into 89
points and why Chicago is shooting 39.8 percent, although Indiana
isn’t much better at 41.3 percent.

Rose was not shooting particularly well before the sprain,
although he is averaging 28.3 points in the series. Now he might be
slowed – not that the Pacers are buying that idea.

”A guy as good as Derrick Rose, I know that he knows that this
series needs to be over, so I think that ankle won’t play a role in
the back of his mind,” said Paul George, the 6-foot-8 swingman who
has helped frustrate him in this series. ”I think the adrenaline
will be pumped, and I think he’s going to come out here trying to
end us.”

So does interim Pacers coach Frank Vogel.

”Once you get out there, adrenaline starts flowing, pretty much
the rest of the game you don’t feel it,” he said. ”I expect him
to be 100 percent.”

If he’s not? If he has to alter his game?

”I know that I have my teammates,” he said.

The Bulls have fared well when short-handed, winning despite
losing Boozer and Joakim Noah for significant portions of the
season because they have one of the deepest rosters, not to mention
an MVP favorite at the point.

Rose played in all but one game even if he wasn’t always a
picture of health.

”He’s tough,” Chicago’s Kyle Korver said. ”He’s a hard-nosed
kid, never complains. He plays so many minutes. He plays with
injuries you guys don’t know about. That’s something that as a
teammate, you really respect. You know. You see him in the training
room. You see him in the locker room. You see how he walks around
when he’s not on the actual court. He’s 22 years old, he’s the same
age as my third brother, but I’ve got a lot of respect for
him.”