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.”