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United Center crowd might get to see Derrick Rose with USA Basketball

MINNEAPOLIS — Coach Tom Thibodeau hopes the next time Bulls fans see Derrick Rose playing at the United Center, it’ll be in a different uniform.

That would mean Rose’s surgically repaired right knee was strong enough for him to make the U.S. national team this summer. On Wednesday, USA Basketball announced a three-day training session in Chicago, including an exhibition against Brazil on Aug. 16 at the UC.

Rose, who’ll be competing for a spot on the American team for the FIBA Basketball World Cup in late August and September, is staying away from contact in practice, but it’s not because his rehab hasn’t been going well.

“Rose is feeling great, which is the encouraging thing,’’ Thibodeau said. “He’s bouncing all over the place. The rehab is going very well.

“We’re not doing a lot of contact ourselves right now. So at this point, it really doesn’t make sense. Just continue with what he’s doing. Do his work, do his rehab, encourage his teammates, be engaged. He’s done all those things, so that’s been a big plus for us.’’

The plan for the last three months was to try to make sure Rose would be on schedule to be an active participant with Team USA this summer, and there have been no setbacks.

It would be quite a treat for the UC crowd to see Rose and Thibodeau, an assistant coach for USA Basketball, together during the summer in Chicago, one of four exhibition cities.

“It’s great,’’ Thibodeau said. “For USA Basketball, Chicago is such a great basketball city, so I think it’s a natural. Hopefully, Derrick will be participating, so it’s great for everybody. It’s great for the city, great for our fans, great for USA Basketball, so I’m excited to hear that.’’

Around the rim

Who said all Thibodeau does in his free time is watch game film? With the Bulls getting in early Tuesday, Thibodeau scouted the Timberwolves in person in their victory over the Spurs.

◆ Swingman Jimmy Butler says the only games he and his teammates are interested in are the ones they’re playing in.

“We look at the standings in the morning or whatever, but they don’t really mean anything to us,’’ Butler said. “We’re focused on us, and we’ll play whoever we have to play in the playoffs.’’

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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