After Saturday night's game in Chicago, Derrick Rose hasn't practiced or played for Team USA, including in last night's game.
"We went in with the idea that, as long as he's feeling good, he's gonna play [for Team USA]. He's gotta play at some point. He's basically been out for three years, so he's gotta play, and I think this is a great setting for him -- as I've mentioned many times -- because of the depth of the team.
"You have Kyrie, Damian [Lillard], James [Harden]; there's so many guys. He doesn't have to play a lot of minutes or have the burden of scoring big. He just has to go out there and find a rhythm and run the team. With all the depth on the team, it's ideal for him. But if he needs rest, we're gonna give him rest. It's gonna be a process for him coming back. There's gonna be some days where he has some soreness. And when he has some soreness, we're gonna be smart."
This is all is how it should work. Rose was never going to (hell, we just went through this last summer) come back with no restrictions, despite when he says stuff. Thibs is right, if unfortunately using Gar-speak: it's a process. Rose's knees (yes, yes, yes, yes) will be sore at times. He'll have to be eased in to playing heavy minutes, and mindful of the back-to-back nature of the NBA schedule.
What's nice is that apparently Team USA is alright facilitating this for Rose, even though their own schedule is very tight. While they have depth at guard, it's probably not the best use of resources to have someone who potentially can't play every night. But if they're willing, that's good news for Bulls fans who don't need to particularly care how this national team performs.
If they figure they need someone more reliable, they could ultimately cut Derrick Rose and it still would've been worthwhile to go through these practices and exhibitions. Better now than in the preseason, and then of course leading into the regular season. But as Mike McGraw reminds me, Team USA's group-play schedule is fairly easy, so they could keep Rose and deploy him with restrictions and still make it to the final tournament just fine. And hopefully Rose himself will be just fine as well.