(CBS) After resting three days earlier this week, Bulls star Derrick Rose has every intention of playing for Team USA in Friday’s exhibition game against Puerto Rico.
Rose told CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger after sitting out Wednesday’s exhibition win against the Dominican Republic that he intends to play, and he reiterated that message Thursday, when he returned to practice with Team USA.
“If I can play, I’m going to play, no matter when it is or how many games it is,” Rose told the Chicago Tribune. “If I’m healthy enough to play, I’m going to play. I’m not worried about that. I think all the training that I’ve been doing in the past, I think that I’m prepared for it. It’s just that right now, I’m just getting my legs under me a little bit more and we won (big Wednesday). There wasn’t no need (to play). No disrespect to the other team.”
Until practicing Thursday, Rose hadn’t done much since playing 24 minutes in the Americans’ exhibition win against Brazil last Saturday at the United Center in Chicago. After the team headed east to New York, Rose sat out practice Monday and Tuesday, then was a late scratch for Wednesday’s game after participating in the morning shootaround and pregame drills.
While Rose cited “body fatigue” as the reason for not playing, his surgically repaired knees have also been sore, according to reports. And it makes sense that that would be the case, as he played his longest stints yet of competitive ball Saturday in his first official game back after tearing his right medial meniscus last November.
Rose emphasized he could’ve played Wednesday but that it was a group decision to sit. All parties involved want him to be careful in his latest comeback, and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski wanted to give more minutes to the guards on the squad who are battling for the final roster spots.
By all accounts, this latest developments for Rose are an expected outcome rather than a long-term concern. For now, the decision that Rose and Team USA must make is if their respective needs align with one another. Rose appears to need rest and recovery, and with five games in six days awaiting the Americans at the start of the FIBA World Cup on Aug. 30, they need fresh bodies.
Rose has long been considered a lock to make Team USA if he’s fully healthy.