The Chicago Bulls are 7-4 in the 11 games that Derrick Rose has missed through injury, but it appears that they're really starting to feel the effects of his absence. They have lost their last two games in a row, and they haven't looked good in defeat. They only managed 78 points away to Oklahoma City, then followed that up with a home loss to the Houston Rockets. Rose participated in practice Wednesday and could return Thursday to face the Boston Celtics (9:30 p.m. ET, TNT).
Boston was on a five-game winning streak before they were stuffed by the age and logic-defying San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night. Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce had double-doubles, but Kevin Garnett was contained and Ray Allen had just five points on 2-6 shooting.
At one point this season, Boston looked like the likely seventh or eighth seed in the playoffs, but their winning streak and some slumps by other teams has them currently in fourth place, and seriously in the running for third. The Miami Heat appear to be back on track after an impressive win against the Thunder on Wednesday night, so Chicago are going to need Rose to return and start guiding the Bulls to wins if they want to hang onto the top spot in the East.