MILWAUKEE -- After sitting out the previous two games because of ankle sprains, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose returned to action in Wednesday night's 95-86 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, scoring 13 points and dishing out seven assists in 31 minutes.
Rose said after the game that the ankles were "still sore" and that he tweaked the injuries in a second-quarter collision. Still, the former MVP remains hopeful that he will be able to play Friday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.
"Of course I wasn't 100 percent tonight but I felt like we needed this win," Rose said. "And just try to come out here and do anything it takes to get this win with my teammates."
Rose said it was his decision to play in the game and that he made it soon after getting to the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Wednesday night. Rose seemed to improve as the game wore along, but his lateral quickness was lacking at the beginning of the game.
"I really couldn't get to the hole as much as I wanted to," Rose said. "I might have had no fast-break points or anything but I was able to still affect the game and draw people in with my double-teams to help my teammates out."
Rose's return to the floor came as many people around basketball are wondering whether the 26-year-old will ever be the same player again. He said after the game that the criticism regarding his latest return after two separate knee injuries probably is never going away.
"I can't pay no attention to it," he said. "It's going to always be there. Even if I make it through the season healthy, my first playoff game is going to be like, 'OK, this is a new journey. Is he going to be healthy through the playoffs?' So it's fine. Even if I play the whole year and I don't get injured again, next year it's going to be the same thing. So I can't get mad at it; it's just the way people think. Just people's opinions about the situation.
"So the only thing I can do and control is myself and my work ethic and control what's going on here. We're what, 4-1 now. So I'm not worrying about myself, just trying to worry about the team and just trying to put us in a good position to be contenders for the rest of the year."
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau echoed those sentiments before the game.
"He can't get wrapped up in it," Thibodeau said. "Whether it's the MVP year and everyone praising him like there's no room for improvement or whether it's criticism, it's all the same. You got to put that aside and you really only answer to yourself. Only you know how much you're putting into each and every day. Once you've determined that you're giving everything that you have, that's all you can do, and you should be fine with that. So whether it's praise or criticism, it really shouldn't matter. And he's strong minded; this comeback's not going to be easy, and he knows that, he understands that. So he's just got to keep grinding away. It will work out."
Rose isn't concerned that many of the most vocal critics regarding his future are from his hometown in Chicago.
"That's Chicago, man, I'm used to it," Rose said. "Chicago is a hard place to play, I know that. They just want to see good basketball. They're just good basketball fans so I can't get mad at them."
In other injury-related news, Bulls center Joakim Noah missed his second straight game Wednesday night because of flu-like symptoms. He joined up with his teammates after the game and was in the locker room with them before they left for Philadelphia. He likely will be a game-time decision for Friday's game against the 76ers.