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CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose took time away from his first public appearance in Chicago in more than 2½ months to say that not only is he healthy, but he can't contain his excitement for the start of the Chicago Bulls' preseason schedule.
"I'm feeling good," Rose said Sunday following an event at the United Center to promote his latest basketball shoe. "Right now my legs are good. I'm just trying to stay positive and just keep my emotions from exploding knowing that the season is right around the corner."
Rose said he is confident the Bulls will have a successful season, but first there is a matter of getting back into a flow with his old teammates. Mentioning Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Jimmy Butler by name, Rose said he was impressed with last year's team.
"It's so many players that played hard last year, just trying to get to the playoffs and just trying to prove people wrong, and for me to come back, who knows when I'm going to get my rhythm?" Rose said. "It might take one game, it might take five games, 10 games, who knows?"
Rose said he doesn't expect his teammates to lean on him heavily in the early goings.
"I'm just trying to fit in with them, do my job, where my job is to come in and run the game and get them open shots and play aggressive," Rose said. "So I think if the guys on the team know that and me knowing that, too, I think it's going to be a smooth year and a smooth process."
Rose has been a divisive figure during the past year, and especially in the last six months, after missing the 2012-13 season following knee surgery. Disappointment arose from a large segment of the Bulls' fan base after Rose elected not to return, especially since he was cleared to play late in the season by team doctors.
"It really didn't faze me," Rose said of the criticism. "You hear stuff. If you're weak-minded, of course it's going to bother you. But I know that with me, through all the criticism, it feels good that I made it this far, and achieving everything that I've achieved so far.
"They said I couldn't shoot, they said so many things about me and here I am, where I've got my own signature shoe coming and I'm having this big buzz. For me, seeing this success and just knowing that I could care less about what people say about me, that's what keeps [it] at bay."
Sunday's event was attended by a crowd estimated at 4,000, mostly teenagers, who roared their approval for the former league MVP.
"I haven't been here in like two or 2½ months or something like that coming back from traveling," Rose said. "I probably took two days off just working out just being in the house hanging out with my son. My son and family are here, and my fans are here, the die-hard fans are here, so it's awesome being here."
Rose said he has no limitations with training camp set to start at the end of the week. As far as playing regular minutes once preseason games start Oct. 5, Rose was a bit vague.
"My minutes, I can't discuss that, but that's something you can probably ask [coach Tom Thibodeau] or the front office," Rose said. "For me, I feel good."
He said he definitely is planning to play in that first preseason game at Indiana on Oct. 5. The Bulls then face Memphis at St. Louis on Oct. 7, before heading to Brazil to play Washington on Oct. 12. Their first preseason game at the United Center will be Oct. 16 against Detroit.
Despite not playing during last season's playoffs, Rose said that all summer long he felt ready to go.
"I've been feeling that way for a long time," he said. "If anything it's just putting that memory back in my leg, working out every day just trying to strengthen out my leg. That's the biggest goal, but I'm passed that. I'm in training. While I was in L.A. the past month or so I think I was working out three times a day just trying to get back on track."
If anything has changed, Rose said he is on a new eating regimen that has given him added energy. Mentally, he said he expects to be even sharper when he returns.
"I think the only thing that changed in my game is the confidence," Rose said. "My confidence grew as a player and you'll see that when I play."