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Derrick Rose’s comeback hits another snag — sits with sore elbow

Bulls guard Derrick Rose drives to the hoop — with his left hand — against the Hawks on Monday. He suffered an injury when he fell on his left elbow later in the game. (David Banks/AP)

Derrick Rose is proud of playing more games this season than he had in the three seasons following his major knee surgeries — but the little injuries are starting to add up.

The Bulls’ point guard will miss his 13th game of the season — and sixth in the last 20 — because of a sore left elbow that has been bothering him since Monday against the Hawks.

“Every day it’s getting better,” Rose said. “Able to push off a little bit more. But right now it’s still real tender. I can’t dribble the ball — or every time I get hit, just the vibration of getting hit [on the left arm] aggravates the spot.”

An MRI revealed swelling of his bursa sac “and is causing pain in the elbow,” coach Fred Hoiberg said Saturday.

Rose said he suffered the injury when he fell and hit his elbow in Monday’s 102-100 loss to the Hawks at the United Center. He continued to play in that game and “tried to play through it” in a 98-96 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday “and kind of re-aggravated it and it flared up then.”

Rose scored eight points on 4-of-15 shooting against the Pacers. He continued to try and play through it against the Houston Rockets on Thursday but was virtually unable to use his left arm and played only 12 minutes — with no points, two assists and three turnovers.

“It was hard, but I just tried,” Rose said. “Two games — I think I played the whole Indiana game with one hand. And the Houston game. I just thank God Pat [Beverley] didn’t try to pressure me the entire game. That was good. I think he knew [about the injury]. I think he eased back a little bit.”

This has been a season of recovery for Rose after surgeries on his both knees and his meniscus. He is averaging 16.5 points and 4.7 assists in 63 games. But this is the seven time this season that he has missed game for various minor injuries — an ankle, right hamstring tendonitis, knee soreness, general soreness, a sore right hamstring, a sore left groin and now the left elbow.

He has not played more than 17 consecutive games this season. Since playing 27 of the first 29 games this season, Rose has played five, 12, four, five and now nine consecutive games before missing one because of an injury.

He said he’s not letting this string of injuries get him down — not after what he’s been through.

“Nah — I’m too blessed, man. Too blessed,” Rose said. “I played in numerous games this year. Still got a chance to make the playoffs. I’m not worried about being down [mentally].

“It’s just reality. The reality is that I’ve got to deal with an injury. I fell on the floor. You’re going to fall here and there. You’re going to have injuries. You just have to try and get through it and get back on the floor.”

Time is running out for Rose to do that. The Bulls have six games left in the regular season after Saturday night’s game against the Pistons at the United Center. They entered the game one game behind the Pacers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Though he tried to play through it and aggravated the injury, Rose said that’s exactly what he can’t do, despite the urgency of the Bulls’ situation.

“I have to [be patient],” he said. “I’m not going to go out there and play on one hand. What’s that worth?”