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Bulls say Rose healthy enough to start

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Derrick Rose has struggled with an ankle tendon injury throughout most of the preseason, but Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro believes that his young point guard is healthy enough to start in Thursday's season opener against the Spurs.

"Yeah, I think he's healthy enough," Del Negro said after practice on Tuesday afternoon. "I want to see how he feels [Wednesday] and how he feels Thursday, but I thought he was a little bit better today than yesterday and hopefully that will just continue to build."

Rose, who practiced for the third consecutive day, admitted that he is getting better every day.

"Right now I'm feeling a little more comfortable," Rose said. "My ankle isn't really hurting. I've been getting a lot of rest, so I'm feeling good right now.

"Every day I come in it's getting better. Today, I really didn't have to warm up much to get it loose. So that's a nice feeling to go out there and just warm up a little and get it right. Hopefully, when I come in [Wednesday] I'll have to do less [to get the ankle loosened up]."

On Monday, Rose stated that it might be hard to expect him to play 25-30 minutes at the beginning of the the season. He sounded a little more comfortable Tuesday with the idea of playing big minutes.

"I'm not that tired now," he said after the two-hour practice. "We just ran up the court, and I was feeling good. I wasn't exhausted on the court, and hopefully I'll get back in game shape."

The reigning rookie of the year just wants to be on the court for all the opening-night festivities.

"Man, I hope I play," Rose said with a smile. "I know I'm gonna play, but I hope I play a lot of minutes that night, and I hope that we win."