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Rest for Rose better for short and long term

Team USA's cautious approach with Rose will probably be a template this Bulls use this season
Team USA's cautious approach with Rose will probably be a template this Bulls use this season

Perhaps if Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant would have remained a part of Team USA this summer, all the focus wouldn't be on Derrick Rose.

Sure, there would be some commotion with the 25-year-old making his second comeback after playing in just 10 games in the past two seasons. But Rose doesn't have that luxury.

So when he was a last-minute scratch in Wednesday night's Team USA exhibition win over the Dominican Republic at Madison Square Garden, after having participated in the morning shootaround, after missing the prior two days of practice, the focus was once again on Rose.

But fans obcessing over Rose's health should see this added rest as a benefit for both the short and long term.

Everyone wants to see one of the game's exciting talents on the floor and Rose did hint at some frustration for being sat out as a large contingent of MSG fans chanted his name during the game. But precaution and health are the focus. Him sitting out also gave Team USA coach Mike Krzyzweski a chance to evaluate players looking to claim to final available roster spots.

Rose is expected to be a lock when Coach K and his staff make the final four cuts before World Cup play begins on Aug. 30. If he doesn't withdraw -- which could be a possibility because of Team USA's schedule (nine games in 16 days, including back-to-back-to-back games and five games in six nights) -- there is the possibility that he could be limited some games as rest and recovery will be prioritized.

While he had some dazzling moments in Team USA's win over Brazil in Chicago last Saturday, it was apparent that his timing isn't what it will be with more reps and games under his belt. After all, this is a guy who hasn't truly played real basketball in basically two years.

Rose shot down the notion of the two days of rest and the late scratch on Wednesday having anything to do with his knees, and just classified what he's dealing with as "body fatigue." He fully expects to play on Friday against Puerto Rico.

"He had a good week in Vegas, then we had practices in Chicago. It was a good build-up," said Team USA assistant coach Tom Thibodeau to reporters. "And now we're giving him a chance to recover and then we'll go from there. He's feeling a lot better. He was probably feeling good enough to play (Wednesday), but we thought because he hasn't played and he's still trying to shake off some rust, that the best thing to do would be to give him another day of rest.

"He warmed up and felt pretty good, but I just think when he didn't practice the day before (Tuesday), you want him to practice the day before he plays. I think that's the best thing for him."

Given how cautious Team USA has handled Rose, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise if the Bulls take a similar approach with him this season, in allowing him rest on certain practice days.

While it's easy to raise an eyebrow at any news of Rose not on the floor, with his second comeback still in it's early stages, let's remember that this experience was only meant to accelerate his progress and serve as a springboard for training camp to help knock of some of the rust before the season begins.

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