Derrick Rose excited for return

Updated: October 5, 2013, 3:54 PM ET
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- After sitting out for the past 17 months, Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose is excited to make his long-awaited return Saturday night against the Indiana Pacers.

Rose, a former NBA MVP, is looking forward to being back on the floor with his teammates and isn't having any pregame jitters.

"The only time you should get nervous is when you're not prepared," Rose said before Saturday morning's shootaround. "And for me, I've been preparing for this moment for a long time. It's been on my mind for a long time, and it's going to feel good being out there on the court and feeling comfortable."

[+] EnlargeRose
AP Photo/Aaron FavilaDerrick Rose is expected to play 12-24 minutes in his return on Saturday.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau expects to play Rose in three six-to-eight minute segments during the game and see how he progresses from there. Rose has acknowledged that the only concern he has is about getting back into game shape.

"Just a general rule of thumb would be six-to-eight minute spurts, and we're going to see where he is," Thibodeau said. "The game is different. If he needs rest, we're going to give him rest. If he's OK, we'll play him a little bit more -- but probably six-to-eight minute spurts."

Rose knows there is a lot of attention being placed on this game, but he is trying to keep things in perspective.

"I'm excited, but at the same time you got to look at it as it's preseason," he said. "Just (time) for everyone to get the wrinkles out. We're playing with new guys, I haven't played with these guys in a long time, so it's me adjusting to how they play and adjusting to the NBA game period. It should be fun. The experience should be something new. It's like a new beginning for me and it's about time."

The 25-year-old Rose isn't trying to focus on what his return means to the rest of the league.

"I just know that a lot of people are going to be watching," Rose said. "But while you're living in the moment, you really can't tell how big it is."

As for getting himself back into game shape, Rose just wants to make steady progress over the next few weeks of preseason action.

"I really can't give a time limit on when I should have my wind," he said. "It may take two to five games. It might take up to the regular season, who knows? But as long as I'm playing in these games I'm going to try and push myself every game and every practice until the regular season so that I'm ready."

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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