After three hours on the floor for the opening practice of training camp, Derrick Rose was asked if it was his most intense basketball experience since tearing his ACL roughly 18 months ago.
Rose started to say yes, then reconsidered his answer.
"I've had workouts -- don't tell -- I've had workouts harder than this," Rose said, stopping short of saying what everyone knew he meant: Don't tell coach Tom Thibodeau, because he's liable to turn up the intensity at the next practice.
"For real, I worked out three times a day," Rose added. "So to go through practice and have water breaks and all that, that's something I normally don't do in my workouts. It's hard, but I'm used to it."
Rose felt so good after his most serious practice since injuring his knee, he would probably welcome a tougher practice. Rose continued to say he has no concerns about his knee. It's all a matter of timing and conditioning now.
"I'm excited. Coming into the gym, I have a lot of energy," Rose said. "It's fun, just playing on the court. It feels good for (Thibodeau) to even yell at us, yell at me. I feel part of the team now."
There were some comparisons made between Rose on Saturday and his early attempts at joining the team in practice last spring. It's really pointless, though, because those practices were relatively light and don't compare at all to the first week of training camp.
Still, Thibodeau was encouraged that Rose went right back to his trademark move of attacking the basket.
"Today he attacked the basket a lot more than he ever did last year," Thibodeau said. "He attacked right from the start. He made that clear.
"The one big thing about him practicing last year, I think (Rose's teammates) got comfortable with that. So they're playing, they're not thinking about (him). They're going pretty hard."
Rose said he absorbed a few hard fouls, but shook them off. He made it sound as though he wants to create plenty of contact in these early practices.
"I came in this league a driver and I'm going to continue to drive," he said. "I can shoot, yes. My shot has been getting better. But I know I'm mainly a driver."
The Bulls will hold a full practice in the morning, then a lighter session in the evening during the first week of camp. The preseason games begin with some traveling as the Bulls play at Indiana on Oct. 5, in St. Louis against Memphis on Oct. 7, then in South America on Oct. 12 against Washington in Rio de Janeiro.
Rose plans to be ready for everything.
"I've got confidence in my knee. There's no testing it anymore," he said. "I'm not worried about anything. I'm reacting when I'm out there, trying to win every scrimmage and trying to push everybody to be better.
"There's no pacing. I'm going to push myself, continue to go hard and dedicate myself to the game."