Sources: Bulls' Rose tweaks ankle, game-time decision vs. Knicks - Chicago Tribune

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Sources: Bulls' Rose tweaks ankle, game-time decision vs. Knicks - Chicago Tribune
Apr 9th 2012, 23:42

Derrick Rose's groin injury and Richard Hamilton's shoulder soreness appear to be in the past, but that doesn't mean painful subjects don't remain for the Bulls.

Rose, for starters, tweaked an ankle at some point in Sunday's game, which he finished. The extent of the injury is unknown, however sources said Rose wore a walking boot on Monday and his availability for Tuesday's shot at redemption against the Knicks is a game-time decision.

Beyond that, Rose's two missed free throws late in regulation raise anew an issue that has clung to him since his lone college season at Memphis. Hamilton, meanwhile, remained rooted to the bench for the final 18 minutes, 14 seconds of the Bulls' stunning Sunday collapse to lose in overtime.

If the Bulls want to exit the Eastern Conference, one, if not all, of these issues need to be resolved.

There's no guarantee, of course, that Rose will find himself at the free-throw line with another opportunity to ice or win a game. But with the ball in his hands so often, it's certainly possible, if not likely.

And if he does, Rose, at 81.5 percent from the line both this season and for his four-year career, simply can't miss both.

"Hopefully next time, if I get the opportunity, I'm going to knock them down," Rose said Sunday evening.

Rose, who does self-flagellation as well as levitation, apologized to the entire city of Chicago and worldwide Bulls' fan base when he missed two go-ahead free throws with 22.7 seconds left of a four-point loss in the Heat on Jan. 29.

He similarly beat himself up when he missed a critical late free throw during a home loss to the Clippers in December 2010. And his splitting of two free throws late in regulation contributed to Memphis' swift downfall during its NCAA title loss in overtime to Kansas in April 2008.

Rose had made all 29 fourth-quarter attempts before missing in Miami in late January, so it's not like he doesn't know how to make clutch free throws. He just needs to prove it more consistently.

"I didn't really get to the lane," Rose said of his 8-for-26 floor shooting, which also featured eight turnovers. "When I did, I missed floaters, layups. Shots I normally hit I just wasn't hitting them. I know there will come a time."

When will it be Hamilton's time?

Following Saturday's practice, Thibodeau seemed to suggest the veteran shooting guard would be extended past the 20 minutes he had averaged in his first two games back from injury.

"The way he is practicing tells me he can handle more, but we'll see," Thibodeau said Saturday. "Performance is part of it too."

Then, before Sunday's game, Thibodeau reversed course.

"I'm comfortable with what we're doing right now," he said.

Hamilton struggled in the first half, again played just one rotation in each half and logged 18:43, exiting for good late in the third. Afterward, Hamilton said he felt fine physically.

"In practice, he's practicing very well and I think it will lead to very good play," Thibodeau said. "Derrick and Rip are fresh so that's good and now they have to get their timing."

Twitter @kcjhoop

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