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updated: 4/25/2011 8:29 PM

Bulls' Rose has football mentality

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By now most people know that there's a big difference between football and hockey injuries compared to baseball and basketball injuries.

However, Bulls point guard Derrick Rose appears to be a basketball player with a football mentality.

Rose sure seems to be approaching his sprained/twisted/turned ankle like a running back would.

The Bulls will inject Rose with painkillers so he can play Tuesday night against the Pacers in Game 5 of their NBA East quarterfinal series.

Bulls sharpshooter Kyle Korver grinned Monday afternoon in the Berto Center while revealing one of his sport's dirty little secrets: "These days in the NBA it's popular to milk injuries and let everybody know how hurt you are and how much pain you're in."

(Compare that to the NHL, which vaguely describes injuries as lower-body or upper-body.)

Korver quickly added about milking injuries in the NBA, "That's not Derrick."

Ever since Rose's injury occurred Saturday, the Bulls have been working feverishly to prepare him for Tuesday night.

All media eyes searched out Rose on Monday. Was he wearing a walking boot? No, he had Adidas shower shoes on. Was he moving gingerly? Yes, he was.

This ankle thing is the type of condition that would prompt some NBA players to sit out a game, especially with their team leading a best-of-seven series 3-1.

Rose will play, but until he steps on the court he'll be asked for minute-to-minute updates on his status.

Rose watched practice from the sideline Monday and then briefed the media, sat for a TNT interview and even stopped to talk exclusively on camera with a local-TV sports anchor.

Anyway, you don't hear as much about NBA players being injected with painkillers as you do in the NFL, but apparently it's common.

When asked whether he has been shot up to play, Bulls center Joakim Noah paused before saying, "I don't think it's appropriate to talk about how many shots you take."

The impression always has been that medical conditions football or hockey players play with might knock out a baseball or basketball player for a month.

There are exceptions like Michael Jordan playing with some sort of ailment and Rose intent on playing Tuesday night. Come to think of it, each would have made a pretty good wide receiver.

"He's just tough," Korver said of Rose. "He's hard-nosed and has played with so many injuries (the public doesn't know about)."

True to his toughness, Rose has insisted for three days that he'll play Game 5 because nothing is broken.

Heck, it might not be a bad idea to sit him out, but all systems are go because the Bulls' medical staff believe Rose can't cause further damage.

One thing is for sure: Players around the NBA can't criticize Rose the way NFL players did Jay Cutler in January.

"He's a tough guy, tough mentally and physically," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said of Rose. "He says he feels fine."

The Pacers might apply a shot or two of their own to Rose's ankle. They'll surely attempt to make him work harder to get to where he wants to go on the court.

"It's all a part of it," Thibodeau said of Rose's injury. "Guys are going to get hurt."

And a guy like Derrick Rose is going to play hurt if at all possible, which is what a basketball player with a football mentality does.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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