INDIANAPOLIS -- As soon as Derrick Rose dropped a driving lay-in through the rim late in the first quarter, he signaled to the Bulls bench he needed to come out.
Hearts sank along the sideline as Rose hobbled toward the bench and then to the locker room with trainer Fred Tedeschi.
Contact information ( * required )
"A lot of guys in the NBA, they get hurt or they get bumped and they really milk it," teammate Kyle Korver said. "They want everybody to know they're playing in pain. There are a lot of those guys out there and Derrick's not one of them. We knew he had to roll it pretty good, so we were definitely worried."
"For him to leave, I am sure he tweaked it pretty good," agreed coach Tom Thibodeau.
Rose turned his left ankle when he planted his foot on a drive through the lane but wasn't gone long. He returned to the bench after a few minutes and checked back into the game at the 10:29 mark of the second quarter.
A few minutes later, Rose took a backdoor pass from Carlos Boozer and threw down one of his signature back-scratching dunks where he pulls the ball all the way back over his head.
How much the injury bothered Rose the rest of the way is open to speculation. After the game, he had the ankle X-rayed, soaked it in a tub of ice, then refused to use it as an excuse when he visited the interview room.
"When you twist your ankle as a guard, the best thing to do is tie up your shoes and just keep playing," said Rose, who didn't tape the ankle. "I just wanted to come back in quick. I didn't want to sit down."
Rose scored 7 points in the first quarter. After the injury, he added just 3 points in the second and third quarters combined, while hitting 1 of 10 shots.
The MVP favorite finished with 15 points and 10 assists. He hit 6 of 22 shots in Game 4, but also struggled in Game 3, going 4-for-18. That's an even 25-percent shooting in two games at Indiana. He's 5-for-29 from 3-point range in the series.
"All my shots were short," he said. "Next time shoot the ball up."
After averaging 16.3 free-throw attempts in the first three games of the series, Rose went to the line four times Saturday and even blamed that one on himself.
"I think I didn't attack enough," he said. "I think if I would have kept on attacking, they would have had to make the call. But I eased off, (so) just learn from it and next game be more aggressive."
Rose was a catalyst during the late comeback. He stole the ball from Josh McRoberts at midcourt, which led to a clear-path foul and 4-point possession for the Bulls with 1:36 left.
His steal and dunk brought the visitors within 84-81 with 38.9 seconds remaining. Another Rose steal a few seconds earlier resulted in a pivotal play. After getting bumped several times on the way to the hoop by Pacers guard Darren Collison, Rose was hit on the shot and the ball bounced away. The call was a clean block and the Bulls missed a great chance to 2 more points.
"I easily could have laid it in with my left hand, but I thought he was going to foul me, so I tried my right and that's how he hit the ball," Rose said.