Rose made his first appearance of the preseason on Friday night, playing just over 10 minutes in the Bulls' 103-102 victory win over the Dallas Mavericks. He had eight points, hitting 4 of 6 shots, the first a driving left-handed layup, and finished with one assist as he pushed the Bulls offense into high gear.
"I felt good," Rose said. "I just wanted to come out and get a feel for the offense. I love the way that Coach designed everything. The way the offense is run, they've got me running downhill every time I catch the ball."
Rose fractured his left orbital bone when he was struck by an elbow in practice on Sept. 29. He had it surgically repaired the next day. He played with a clear plastic mask Friday and did not get hit in the face. He said the swelling in his left eye continues to go down and his vision continues to improve.
Asked if he thought he would be playing Tuesday, Rose said: "Who knows? I don't want to jinx myself. It's improving every day. So it looks like it's a go for me."
First-year Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said there was no reason not to think that Rose would play Tuesday unless he had a setback in the next three days.
"It was great to see him back in uniform," Hoiberg said. "Our pace was as good as it's been all preseason when Derrick got in there and in turn the other guys were out there running with him. He got to the rim, hit a nice little pullup out there. It was a very good first effort for Derrick."
Hoiberg said Rose pushing the pace is key to the offense he has instituted since taking over the Bulls.
"Even he doesn't have a lane to the basket, we can get that ball swung around and make a play," Hoiberg said. "Our wings were better running tonight. Derrick with the ball in his hands, those guys better run with him because he's coming."
Rose knows he's supposed to push the ball and is happy to do so.
"All he had to do is yell at me a couple times," he said. "I learned back in training camp he wanted me to push it. It's good for my conditioning, too."
Rose likes Hoiberg's offense, but he knows he hasn't mastered it yet.
"With this offense, there's a lot of openings and gaps," Rose said. "With the way we shoot the ball and the freedom we have to shoot the ball, it's like you can help off anyone. We're trying to play off matchups We need to do that a little more. ... It's all reading the game.
"There are so many opportunities to drive, so many opportunities to shoot my midrange, even in transition. It's open. I've just got to get used to playing this way. I know that might sound crazy, but playing in a system for three or four years kind of got me out of my rhythm."
Friday night's performance, however, gives Rose confidence going into the regular season.
"I thought I was just going to facilitate the game," he said. "Anything can give me confidence since I haven't played for so long. I'm going to take this and run with it."
Doug McDermott hit a fallaway jumper with 1 second left to give the Bulls the victory.
Up next: The Bulls will host Cleveland to open the season Tuesday. Dallas will open the season at Phoenix on Wednesday.
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