- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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ST. LOUIS -- A day after playing his first professional game in over 17 months, Chicago Bulls star guard Derrick Rose was happy with his performance in Saturday night's preseason win over the Indiana Pacers.
"It feels great," Rose said before Sunday's practice. "I'm not sore or anything. My leg's good. Just trying to stay focused and trying to take it one day at a time."
The best news of all for the Bulls is that Rose reported no soreness in his left knee after scoring 13 points in 20 minutes on Saturday night.
"No soreness at all," Rose said. "After the game it felt like I hadn't even played so I guess that's a good sign."
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was pleased with what he saw from Rose as well. The veteran coach understands that the former MVP still has to shake off some rust, but he was happy with how Rose responded after his first contest.
"We'll see when he gets out [to practice] -- so far, so good," Thibodeau said. "I thought he played well [Saturday] and we've been seeing it in practice so it was good to see it in a game. I thought he was real aggressive. As the game went on he got stronger and stronger."
Both Thibodeau and Rose were concerned with how Rose would work his way back into game shape but that doesn't appear to be a problem. Thibodeau joked on Saturday that Rose was upset when he was taken out with 7:07 left in the third quarter against the Pacers. Thibodeau doesn't expect to see any changes in his schedule for Rose as the Bulls get set to face the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.
"The big thing was looking at his wind," Thibodeau said. "He felt really good, he wanted to play more, which is good. We're just going to take it day by day, and if he needs some rest we'll give him more rest. It's just step by step, don't skip and steps. That's all we want him to do."
Rose said he hadn't talked to many people since making his long-awaited return Saturday.
"I just changed my number so it was like friends and family hit me up," he said. "But other than that I haven't read anything, saw anything, at least not yet."
5hMarc Stein and Mike Mazzeo
4dIan O'Connor, ESPN Senior Writer