Del Negro: Rose could miss opener

Updated: October 20, 2009, 6:46 PM ET
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose is convinced he'll be ready to play next Thursday on opening night. Coach Vinny Del Negro still isn't so sure.

Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said Monday it wasn't out of the "realm of possibility" that Rose would be sidelined when his team opens up the regular-season schedule against the Spurs next week.

The Bulls coach continues to take a day-to-day approach when evaluating Rose, who has an inflamed tendon behind his right ankle and has not played since the preseason opener against Indiana.

"We want to use this time to get him out there practicing and get everybody comfortable with things," Del Negro said after the Bulls preseason loss to the Magic on Monday night. "But we always want to be smart, knowing the regular season's around the corner and looking at [the] big picture."

Rose concedes he is about "80 percent" right now, but he seems adamant about opening up the season against San Antonio.

"I'm playing, I know that," Rose said with a smile, when asked about the possibility of missing the first game.

The Bulls second-year point guard admitted that he is still having problems taking off and lacks the explosion that he usually has.

"Usually when I take off, I put my right foot in front, instead of my left, so it's hard," he said.

Rose said he was hopeful that his injury would feel better on Tuesday and he would be able to practice. No matter what happens, Del Negro already made it clear that Rose would not be participating in contact drills.

"It's a little better every day," Del Negro said of the injury. "He ran today [Monday], so that was a good sign, and didn't have any pain. He's been riding the bike a lot, but he needs to get back. It's a day-to-day thing and we'll see how he feels tomorrow running and then we'll just try to progress [rehab] in a smart way."

Del Negro said he wants to play everything as safely as he can.

"I think if I had probably pushed it a little bit and he did, he'd probably be a little bit more eager to get into practice tomorrow," Del Negro said. "But it's also an unusual injury and it's a different injury, and I just want to make sure it's healed up and we're doing everything and the doctors tell me and the trainer's tell me [he's OK] and then we talk to Derrick.

"He's gotten a little bit better every day, but I don't want to bring him back and then the next day he's sore and then the next day it's re-injured. I'm trying to just make sure we can heal it up and get him out there. There's no perfect answer."

The reigning rookie of the year just wants to be back on the floor with the rest of his teammates.

"This is longest I've ever sat out," Rose said. "It's been kind of crazy. I'm kinda mad, but when you're sitting out you see a lot of things like the plays, defensive plays, offensive plays, You see a lot of things not playing, but it's killing me not to be out there."

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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