CHICAGO -- The rebirth of Derrick Rose's basketball life in Chicago begins on Saturday night when Team USA takes on Brazil at the United Center. Having played in just 49 games over the past three seasons and 10 in past two because of two serious knee injuries, the Chicago Bulls point guard is looking forward to playing in front of his home fans again.
"It's very exciting," Rose said after Team USA's practice Friday. "[Saturday is] the start of a new journey. It starts pretty quick. We know that it's an exhibition game, but we still got to go out there and just try to take it as serious as possible and go out there and really go over our game plan."
For Rose, the best game plan for him this season is just trying to stay on the floor. He understands that fans have questioned whether he can stay healthy, and he knows how excited many are to see him back in uniform again.
"It's big for me, but if anything, it's big for the city," he said. "Just going to the [USA Basketball] event [Thursday]. Just seeing how many people showed up and really show love to the pro-am game. Chicago needs that right now and it's a big buzz about [Saturday's] game in the city. We need it, man. We need all the positivity we can get right now."
Team USA coach and Chicago native Mike Krzyzewski is excited about being able to watch Rose is his return game at the United Center. Rose has played in just five home games over the past two seasons.
"He's one of the best guys in the whole world," Krzyzewski said. "He's so easy to coach and wants to please. It's very neat to see how excited he is about being here in his first game back to play in the United Center. As a Chicagoan, I'm ecstatic about him and what [Bulls coach] Tom [Thibodeau] has done for the Bulls. They're keepers, I'll tell ya that. They're good people."
Thibodeau, who is serving on Krzyzewski's staff as an assistant, just wants his star guard to continue to focus on maintaining a solid pace to the game.
"He's just got to go out there and do his job," Thibodeau said. "I think he's prepared himself well for this. We don't want him to force anything. Just be patient, find the rhythm of the game. Go out there and execute. Play to your strengths, cover up your weaknesses, run the team, and that's what he's doing. I think he's show a lot of patience and I think that's important."
Rose knows that a lot Bulls fans are going to be in attendance Saturday, and he wants to put on a good show for them. He is expecting big things from Team USA as it gets set for the World Cup of Basketball later this month and from the Bulls, who tip off the regular season on Oct. 29 against the New York Knicks.
"I'm looking forward to it to tell you the truth," Rose said of the Bulls' season. "The feeling is really coming from the love I've been getting from the fans. I think the fans are way more excited than the players are. I think that's one of the reasons why the turnout may be big [Saturday] because the Bulls fans just want to see some basketball. We have a great roster, they believe in the roster and it's great."