- Nick Friedell, Chicago Bulls beat reporter
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CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose isn't worried about what has happened in the past. He's just trying to focus on what will happen in the future. He doesn't want to think about the serious injuries he's sustained over the past two years, and he certainly doesn't want to relive what happened to Team USA teammate Paul George after his gruesome broken leg.
Rose just wants to be the best he can be right now, and he reaffirmed that mantra Thursday.
"I don't have no fear," Rose said. "I have faith. I know that I'm going to be fine. I know that I've busted my ass the entire two summers, two seasons, in getting back to where I am right now. I'm just trying to keep it moving and stay positive every day. Do everything consistent like I've been doing ... just getting my mind clear before I step out here on the floor. And I'm doing everything that Coach K and them want me to do."
After George's injury and Kevin Durant's decision to leave the team, Rose knows his role has changed since Team USA opened camp last month.
"When you lose players like that it's definitely going to be some changes, but at the same time we just can't quit and go home," Rose said. "We got to go out here and compete. Coming in today, guys that are still on the team still have the drive and still are trying to make the team, so it seems like [the circumstances] didn't take anybody down."
Players and coaches echoed that sentiment Thursday. Chicago Bulls coach and Team USA assistant Tom Thibodeau again was pleased by what he saw from his star point guard.
"I think the pacing," Thibodeau said, noting the improvements in Rose's game. "I know he puts a lot of pressure on himself. And I think that's something that he learned from the last comeback is he's got a great pace to his game right now. I think he's reading the game extremely well. He's shooting when he should shoot, he's passing when he should pass. He's not forcing things. He's playing well defensively. And that's what we want him to do -- find the rhythm of the game. I think he's comfortable, he's confident, he knows he's prepared himself well."
Rose also knows he has a lot of doubters he wants to prove wrong. He proved during his time in Vegas that he still has the speed and explosion to perform at a high level. What he hasn't shown in recent years is the ability to stay on the floor for long stretches of time. After playing only 49 games in the past three years and just 10 in the past two, Rose understands he has a lot to prove.
"Every time I step on the floor there's something to prove," he said. "I have my own little goals in my head. I got my own little things that motivate me in my head I keep to myself. But every time I step on the floor I try to produce."
Rose's latest round of rehab has taught him to appreciate the game even more. The former MVP is enjoying being back in his hometown this week. Team USA plays an exhibition game against Brazil on Saturday night at the United Center, and Rose is excited to put on a show for his home fans.
"I appreciate it even more," Rose said of being able to play. "Even just being in this city, actually. Just being here this entire summer ... just seeing how crazy the city is right now with all the deaths and everything. Just makes me appreciate life a little bit more. Knowing that there's kids out there that don't give a hell about their life, acting like it's a video game. But it made my appreciation for the game even higher, and when I step on the floor it's going to feel like a performance every time."
Derrick Rose isn't worried about what has happened in the past. He's just trying to focus on what will happen in the future.