Chicago to Rio de Janeiro is a long way to go to watch a basketball game, but that's how the Bulls' trip to Brazil ended for Derrick Rose.
After developing soreness in his left knee at the start of Friday's practice, Rose sat out Saturday's 83-81 preseason victory over Washington.
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Rose is coming back from ACL surgery on his left knee, and even though he's spent 17 months recovering from the injury, the Bulls feel this is a routine and expected occurrence as their star point guard returns to NBA game action.
"He's coming off a major injury," coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters after the game. "He started practice yesterday and he had soreness, so we sat him the remainder of the practice. We wanted to see where he was today and he wasn't as well as we would have liked. He still had that soreness."
Rose was already given a day off from practice during the first week of training camp and usually skipped the second session when the Bulls had two-a-day workouts, according to Thibodeau.
Rose looked like his old self and reported no problems after playing in the first two preseason games. Bulls vice president John Paxson suggested Saturday the team was simply being ultraconservative.
"We anticipated giving him time off during this," Thibodeau said. "We view our training camp as the entire month. So if he needs a day or he needs a couple days, we'll do that."
This type of soreness is to be expected. Whether or not it turns out to be a significant setback will be determined with time. The Bulls boarded a plane after the game for the long trip home. They are expecting to practice again in Deerfield on Monday, with the next preseason game scheduled for Wednesday at the United Center.
For Rose's part, he told reporters after the game he felt ready to play in Rio.
"My knee is not bad, but the front office made the decision to sit me out," he said. "If it was up to me, I would have played. But I can't complain about it that they're worried about my health."
Kirk Hinrich started in Rose's place, while second-year guard Marquis Teague got more time off the bench.
"We're not too worried," Hinrich said in Rio. "(Rose) has been good all camp. Coming back from a big injury like that, you don't want to push it too hard, too fast."
Joakim Noah also sat out Saturday's game. He has yet to play in preseason after suffering a groin strain during one of the early practices. He has returned to the practice court and may be ready soon.
"Joakim's getting closer," Thibodeau said. "Training camp, when guys get sore, you usually rest them."
Another continuing storyline during preseason is the strong play of Taj Gibson. He finished with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks against the Wizards. Gibson blocked a layup by Glen Rice Jr. in the final minute of the game while the Bulls led by 2.
During three preseason games, Gibson is averaging 17 points and 8.7 rebounds, while shooting 70 percent from the field. Luol Deng added 14 points Saturday, while Jimmy Butler scored 11 The Bulls piled up 24 turnovers and hit just 4-of-20 shots from 3-point range before saying goodbye to Brazil.
"Coming here was an honor and a privilege for us," Thibodeau said. "We absolutely loved it. The hospitality was incredible. That part was very, very enjoyable for our entire team.
"We're fortunate. What Michael Jordan did for our organization in the '90s, it speaks for itself. So we have worldwide fans."