- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose went through all of Monday's practice after missing Saturday's game in Rio de Janeiro because of soreness in his surgically repaired left knee and sounds optimistic about playing in Wednesday's preseason home opener.
"My knee was good," Rose said. "I never was worried about it. I could have played but the front office made a decision to sit me out. My health is the number one [concern]."
Rose did not play at all last season as he rehabbed from ACL surgery, so the fact that he sat out Saturday's game alarmed many fans, given that he said he was feeling fine after the first two preseason contests. He understands why fans are worried.
"I'm fine with [people asking], man," he said. "It's just something I've got to deal with. Does it get irritating? Sometimes, but I had the injury, and it's something all of us have to go through."
Rose admitted he knew soreness was a possibility as he recovered; he was just surprised after feeling so good after the first few weeks of training camp. He knows the soreness is a possibility throughout the year as he continues the rehab process.
"It just happened," he said. "Of course I wouldn't want it to be sore but it's just something that happened and I'm all right right now. ...
"Going into [the process], you hear about it, but when it actually happened, it surprised everyone. Like I said, I could have played in the game but they made a decision and I just listened to them."
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was pleased with what he saw from Rose on Monday, also noting that All-Star center Joakim Noah, who hasn't played in a preseason game yet because of a groin injury, is feeling better as well.
"Derrick did everything," Thibodeau said. "He was fine. Jo did everything. He's moving great so that's a big plus. We felt coming into this stretch where we had some days in between it would be good to give those guys some rest. ... I don't want to get ahead of myself, but based on how they practiced today, I'm assuming they're both going to be ready to go [Wednesday]."
Like Rose, Thibodeau doesn't sound too concerned about Rose's absence Saturday.
"It's soreness," he said. "We're in training camp right now. This is an important time for us. We want everyone to work but we also want to be smart. And I think it was unusual with the travel [to Brazil] that was involved, particularly where we played those two games and then we basically flew all night and we had a lot of stuff going on during the day where guys couldn't get off their feet like they normally would because of all the obligations that we had with the league. So you just want to make sure that everything's good."
Rose acknowledged the travel might have been a problem but doesn't believe that was the reason his knee was sore. He just hopes fans can hang in there with him as he gets his body back into the rhythm of an NBA season.
"Nervous I could understand," he said of fans' emotions regarding his knee. "But at the same time, I have to worry about myself and worry about my health. So as long as I'm healthy -- this is the preseason, get all the wrinkles out, the regular season I should be all right."
4hSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann