Rose: Sitting vs. Thunder would 'hurt'

Derrick Rose hopes to return Sunday to play against good friend Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose is cautious to return from his groin injury too early, but he said Friday it would be difficult to miss Sunday’s game against Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City and his friend Russell Westbrook.

“Our families are close,” said Rose of Westbrook, who he trains with during the offseason. “We’re definitely close. It’ll hurt me not to play that game.

“For me to play would be great. But if not, I know if we make it far and they make it far, we’ll have a chance to play them.”

The Bulls sit atop the Eastern Conference with a 41-11 record. Oklahoma City leads the Western Conference with a 39-12 mark.

Rose likely will miss his ninth consecutive game due to the groin injury when the Bulls host the Detroit Pistons on Friday night. Rose participated in a small percentage of Friday morning’s shootaround and was called a game-time decision by Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.

“I’m getting better,” Rose said. “There ain’t too much to say. I’m trying to get better every day, just trying to get healthy. It’s coming along, so hopefully I’ll be out there soon.

“It’s killing me, man. Just being out, missing the action, playing in some good games. (I’m just) really taking my injury into concern where I’m not trying to rush back. Where if I do rush back too early, I could re-injure it, so just taking my time.”

Rose has been receiving treatment twice a day. He said he was working out in the pool and attempting to run.

Rose said he was worried if he returned too early it would affect his game’s speed and his ability to start and stop quickly.

“That’s just the way I play,” Rose said. “My speed is my whole entire game. If I don’t have that … I haven’t learned to play without my speed. I’m not old yet. I haven’t learned that part of the game yet.”