Derrick Rose sprains left ankle late in Bulls' victory over Pacers

The Bulls held on for a 96-95 victory over the Pacers on Monday night — but there was a twist.

A sprained left ankle sent Derrick Rose to the locker room late in the fourth quarter. Rose scored 23 points before leaving.


"He was limping around in the locker room," coach Fred Holberg said. "We don't know how severe it is. We will find out more tonight."

Rose sounded optimistic about the injury but could not guarantee he would be available Wednesday night in Phoenix as the Bulls begin a West Coast trip.


"I twisted it along the baseline ... just a regular ankle sprain," Rose said. "It throbs a little bit but nothing out of the norm, so I'm all right. Right now I just need to get treatment, have some ice on it a little bit. After this, just get off my feet and elevate it and put some more ice on it."

Rose also had six assists, two steals and a block while playing more than 33 minutes, and the Bulls snapped the Pacers' three-game winning streak with some crunch-time defense.

Knowing the Pacers offense starts and stops with Paul George, Hoiberg deployed his quickest starting lineup, summoned an all-out team defense and hoped for the best.

George entered averaging 29.6 points in his previous six games and wound up with 26. But Jimmy Butler denied his potential winning shot at the buzzer.

"Defense and effort, you really can't strategize for that," Butler said.

George had 12 points by halftime and finished 9 of 20 from the field, including four 3-pointers. It was his seventh straight game with 20-plus points.

"He is just a tough matchup," Hoiberg said before the game. "They have really hung on to a smaller lineup. They are trying to spread you out. George Hill, Monta Ellis ... the ball screens. They'll put small on smalls, big on smalls ... you just have to be ready to adjust."

Hoiberg started 6-foot-7 Tony Snell in place of the defense-challenged Doug McDermott at small forward, and the Bulls took a 53-45 lead into halftime.


McDermott wound up playing nearly 17 minutes and scored 11 points. Snell scored six in more than 28 minutes with a steal and a block as Hoiberg seemed more determined to try to keep George in check.

"Everybody has got to be ready," Hoiberg said. "Everybody has got to be in their gaps. You just try to make life difficult and make him take tough, contested shots."

George has made a remarkable comeback from a gruesome leg injury suffered during a scrimmage with Team USA in August 2014.

"Just the way (George) bounced back, the commitment and time he has put into it to play at an All-Star level, he's the leader of that team," Hoiberg said. "You can tell. He's unselfish. He makes plays and he can flat-out carry a team. That's the sign of a true superstar."

Only 10 games into the season, the Bulls are trying to figure out what type of team they are and what they want to become.

"Some days we're awesome offensively. Some days we can play a little bit deeper. We're still trying to find the right kind of pattern," Taj Gibson said.


"Doug is going out there playing freely. He is not looking over his shoulder. Not thinking too much. He is still young. He is still trying to figure out the defense. Once he gets those things down pat, the sky is the limit for him."

The Bulls got 17 points from Butler, who played George tightly on the final play despite having five fouls.

"I told Coach I wanted to stay in. I didn't want to come out in crunch time," Butler said. "When you have five (fouls), you can't be as aggressive, but it worked out for us. I didn't foul out and we got the win."

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