Kevin Durant talks Derrick Rose

CHICAGO -- Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant said Tuesday he was confident Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose would return a better player after rehab for his ACL injury.

"I know he's going to get stronger and better," Durant said. "I'll be praying for him, of course. I'm watching his videos online. I know he's going to have a really, really nice comeback here for the Bulls and be at full strength.

"I think he'll be better with all the weight training he's doing, strengthening his body and his core. He's doing everything he needs to do. He's going to come back stronger and better."

Durant and Rose have been friends since they teamed together on Team USA. Neither was expected to play in Tuesday's meeting between the two teams. Rose was sitting because of his injury, and Durant was held out by Thunder coach Scott Brooks to give other Thunder players an opportunity for playing time.

Rose works out with Thunder guard Russell Westbrook during the offseason, and Durant said that training has paid off for both players.

"Those two guys compete against each other every year, every summer," Durant said. "They push each other. You've seen they gained success over the years because of it. They push each other and they work so hard. Russell and Derrick have been close friends since they got to the league. I'm sure they're going to continue to do the same thing."

Brooks also held out Westbrook on Tuesday.

"I wanted to give other guys opportunities to play," Brooks said. "One of things I do know, I know how Kevin and Russell play. That is one of the few things I do know, and I'm pretty sure about that. It had nothing to do with their needed rest or Olympic experience. That didn't play a factor. It was just more to see other guys play."