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Derrick Rose ready to rid the rust in opener

Updated: November 5, 2013 6:28AM



It’s probably a good sign that Derrick Rose is more worried about his upcoming phone conversation with his mother Brenda than anything to do with his rehabilitated leg.

While talking about his competitive nature after practice on Wednesday Rose said “it could be my mom on the court, she’s going to get killed. I could care less who.”

Rose was obviously joking, but it sounds like he’s dreading explaining that to his mom.

“I have to call her,” Rose said on Thursday. “She was probably up watching the news, I don’t know how the conversation is going to go but it should be interesting.”

Rose seems hungry for Saturday’s game in Indianapolis. Rarely has a former MVP had so much to prove to a city, and himself, in a preseason game. Rose said he hasn’t discussed with coach Tom Thibodeau how many minutes he’ll be playing, but Thibodeau has said he expects “starters to play starter minutes, bench guys to play bench minutes.”

“As long as I’m on court and playing this game I’ve been missing for a whole year it’s fine,” Rose said. “I’m just happy to step out there with my teammates again, being involved and feeling like a player.”

“It is a fresh start,” Rose said. “This is the biggest stage you can play on as a player and probably the biggest stage I’ll ever play on in my life. Me getting past this is just going to help my confidence and become better as a pro and a veteran for my team.”

Rose claims he’s more confident after the long layoff, says he’s a better shooter and that his basketball IQ has improved. After the serious injury it’s likely that most fans, and Bulls management, would happily settle for just plain old MVP-level Rose. But Rose, as he has every off-season, wants to showcase an improved version of himself.

“More efficient, someone that is going out there trying to control the whole game,” Rose said. “[Wants to have] low turnovers, while just trying to play aggressive as possible.”

Rose said his new teammates will have his back. When he falls in practice, he says there are always two or three guys rushing to pick him up. Rose has been impressed that his teammates showed up for training camp in shape, which may not say a lot for last year’s squad.

“When I came in it surprised me, seeing guys in shape knocking down shots,” Rose said. “There are guys working out even after practice. It’s a totally different team than last year where you have guys that are really preparing themselves for a big year.

The one physical issue Rose is concerned with is stamina.

“Just getting my wind,” Rose said. “I haven’t played in a long time. You can run, condition yourself as much as possible but it’s not like going out there and playing the games. Practice is different. Thibs will stop here and there if he sees anything. In the games there is none of that it’s the referees and you are actually out there playing.”

email: mobrien@suntimes.com

twitter: @michaelsobrien



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