PHOENIX – Derrick Rose injuries have never been known for their good timing.
The point guard didn’t play in Wednesday night’s 103-97 Bulls win over the Suns because of a sprained left ankle, and according to coach Fred Hoiberg, there’s a good chance he might not be ready for Friday’s game against Golden State, considering he was scheduled to do very little on Thursday.
Not that he was a necessity in the fourth-straight Bulls win, especially with Jimmy Butler scoring a season-best 32 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter. And then Rose’s replacement, Kirk Hinrich, adding 14.
This latest setback for Rose, however, might just be a blessing in disguise.
After all, there’s no reason this early in the regular season that Rose needs a reminder of just how far he’s fallen in the point guard hierarchy by having to face off against the gold standard in Stephen Curry.
“I would love to play in all three of [these West Coast game] but really got to pay attention to my body, listen to my body,’’ Rose said. “Haven’t sprained my ankle in a long time. It’s kind of a weird feeling at first getting an injury like this again. There wasn’t no swelling.’’
The disappointment with this latest Rose injury was he actually seemed to be on the cusp of grabbing onto something positive.
In the Monday win over Indiana, Rose was 9-for-18 from the field for 23 points, handed out six assists without a turnover, and more impressively, was 2-for-2 from three-point range.
“He, I thought was playing, besides the Oklahoma City game, as well as he’d played all year,’’ Hoiberg said. “He put a lot of work in going into that game, with coming in late at night, getting in a lot of extra shots. He hit two threes that game, his stroke looked great. He was king of the guy running the show, making plays, making things happen that entire Indiana game. When he went out we obviously struggled. So that was too bad to see when he went out. But he’s getting there, he’s getting that rhythm.’’
Not without some help.
Hoiberg let it be known that part of Rose’s return from the orbital fracture surgery he underwent early in training camp has been a slight tweaking to his outside shot. Then again, when dealing with a career 30 percent three-point shooter there was obviously room to tinker.
That’s why the coach was glad to see the two long balls he hit against the Pacers.
“Well that’s the thing that we’ve really been working on a lot is finishing high,’’ Hoiberg said, when asked if he ever thought Rose could be a consistent outside shooter. “And when he does that, when he has good tempo in his shot – and he had both of those the other night against Indiana – when he shoots the ball that way … when he released that first one I said, ‘It’s going in.’ You could just tell the way he released it. So that’s what it is.
“It’s about creating the habit now of making sure that he finishes high and that he has a consistent release point on his shot. It’s a good question, but I guess from this point forward we got to make sure that he continues to have good tempo, which is where it starts with all players and all great shooters, and then make sure that he has a consistent higher release point. When he does that, again, I think it’s got a pretty good chance of going in.’’