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Derrick Rose returns to UC, scores 22 points in Bulls’ preseason win

Updated: October 17, 2013 2:14PM

Players expected to start for the Bulls have their names listed in bold on the roster distributed to the media along with the pregame notes. Before the Bulls played the Detroit Pistons in a preseason game Wednesday at the United Center, Derrick Rose’s name, conspicuously, was in regular type.

In the minutes leading up to coach Tom Thibodeau’s pregame news conference, that omission became the subject of conjecture. Maybe Thibodeau wanted Rose to get playing time with the second unit.

The pervasive feeling was one of skepticism after Rose was suspiciously absent from the preseason game Saturday against the Washington Wizards in Rio de Janeiro.

But any doubt was erased, at least for now, when Thibodeau announced Rose would start against the Pistons. He scored 22 points in the Bulls’ 96-81 victory.

But Rose’s first game on the United Center floor since he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on April 28, 2012, did little to answer any questions about whether he’ll be able to sustain success over the long haul.

Rose believes those questions have been answered in practice.

“For me to even score against our defense in practice is pretty hard when you have Kirk Hinrich sticking you and you have Taj Gibson at the hole trying to block shots,” Rose said.

“Going against them every day [is] building me not only for the regular season, but for these ­preseason games.”

Rose played 22 minutes, just a minute shy of his high in the preseason. He played 20 minutes in the exhibition opener in Indianapolis and 23 in St. Louis.

His most encouraging moment came as time was winding down in the first half. Rose used a crossover move that completely shook Peyton Siva. The rookie guard was able to recover and fouled Rose, who made a shot falling to his left.

It was a Rose-esque moment that was so common before the knee injury. But it had been questioned whether he ever would be able to make plays like that again.

Those questions, at least, have been answered this preseason.

Now that he has his explosiveness back, what’s paramount is getting the speedy Rose and his teammates to play cohesively.

The process-driven Thibodeau has emphasized that the preseason is part of Rose’s acclimation process. Like the other starters, his minutes will increase as the preseason moves along.

More minutes will be the ultimate test of his readiness. But any rush to get Rose back to where he was can’t trump the process of the preseason.

“Derrick has to get used to playing at his game speed, and his teammates have to get used to him playing at his game speed,” Thibodeau said.


Twitter: @SethGruen

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