Kia Rookie Ladder: Denzel Valentine finding way through many fits and starts

The painful part is the painful part. But beyond the physical ache of a sprained left ankle (again) there is the emotional pain that Denzel Valentine went through after another missed opportunity with the Chicago Bulls (when that is exactly what he needs most).

The injury that first cost him much of training camp — a setback for any rookie, but especially for one stepping into a crowded rotation at shooting guard — healed and some minutes came in late November and early December.

Then he fell out of the rotation, then he climbed back in. And then Valentine sprained the ankle again. That last injury happened at the very moment there appeared to be a chance for another increased role as the Bulls’ backcourt dealt with (at various times) Jimmy Butler being sick, Dwyane Wade resting (or dealing with a swollen knee) and Rajon Rondo being shown…