RIO DE JANEIRO – In his second day in Brazil, Derrick Rose said he was admittedly surprised that his surgically-repaired left anterior cruciate ligament had felt so good.
Those good feelings didn’t last very long.
Rose was a late scratch before the Saturday preseason game with Washington – the first NBA game ever played in Brazil – for what was described as “general soreness’’ in the knee by Bulls management.
No wonder Bulls vice-president of basketball operations John Paxson felt the need to go on the offensive for his point guard.
“We know in this day and age that people are going to come up with some theory,’’ Paxson said. “It is minor knee soreness and we’re going to let him work through this the next day or two. That’s it.
“We never anticipated a straight line. He had a little soreness and we are being ultra conservative because it’s the third game of preseason. We respect tremendously the fact that we’re in Brazil and what that means and we’d love for everybody to play. But the reality is it’s too early to even press anything.’’
Rose, who was criticized for sitting out all of last season to rehab the injury, had been looking better than anticipated through the first few weeks of training camp, which also included two preseason games in which he averaged 13 points, 3.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game.
“We know there’s nothing structurally to be worried about,’’ Paxson said. “It’s just a little soreness. If it was any other player, we’d do the same thing.’’
Paxson was asked if there was an MRI planned on Sunday when the Bulls returned to Chicago, and replied, “I haven’t talked to Dr. [Brian] Cole about that. But my understanding is that’s not the intention.’’