Derrick Rose returns to action

CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose started Saturday in the Bulls' 93-83 win over the Mavericks after sitting out the past three games because of ankle and foot problems. Rose warmed up before the game and said he was feeling better.

Rose finished with 11 points and eight assists in 32 minutes but after the game admitted to some soreness.

"It was throbbing a little, but the great thing about it is we got the win and we get a couple of days off to get treatment and I'm going to stay off my feet and hopefully it's going to get better," Rose said after the victory, which moved the Bulls 2½ games ahead of the Miami Heat for the East's top spot.

TNT's Craig Sager reported during Thursday night's game against the Heat that Rose had fluid in his ankle and foot because the ankle was taped too tight before last Sunday's game against the Detroit Pistons. While Rose tried to brush off that report, he also admitted that he wouldn't tape his ankle before Saturday's game. Usually the 23 year old just wears ankle braces instead of taping.

"I wouldn't say that," Rose said prior to Saturday's game while discussing the apparent tight tape job. "Just playing again, getting my minutes back, overtime (in Detroit), playing the way that I play, I think that had something to do with it more than the tape."

Rose noted that he used to get his ankles taped when he was younger, but hasn't done so in several years before last weekend.

"When I was younger, I used to get them (taped)," he said. "I didn't think nothing about no fluid or anything. I just thought that I was sore, but ever since I got to the league things changed."

With the Bulls now having just tw games left to go in the regular season, Rose admitted that it was important to him to play and try and get his timing back. He has missed 26 games this season because of various injuries. Since injuring his groin in a March 12 win over the New York Knicks, Rose has played in just three games.

"It's important just to get my rhythm back," he said earlier Saturday. "But the team is playing all right, they're playing good basketball. I'm just trying to fit in, trying to still be a part of this team and do whatever it takes to win."

"I think (Rose) played a very controlled type game," Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said after the win. "He was taking care of the ball, running the offense and just trying to get a feel for being out there again."

Rose also acknowledged that it was difficult for him to to watch the Bulls' loss to the Heat on Thursday. Without Rose on the floor, the Bulls managed just 72 points.

"(It was) definitely hard," he said. "Knowing our background with that team. But hopefully in the future we should meet each other."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.