The threat of injury hangs over every player taking part in Team USA training, which moved to Chicago's West Side on Thursday.
Two minutes into a practice scrimmage, Sacramento forward DeMarcus Cousins fell to the floor after a collision and later walked gingerly to a training table at the side of the gym. He seemed to be favoring his right knee.
Of course, this was the first basketball action for Team USA since Indiana forward Paul George suffered a nasty broken leg during a practice game in Las Vegas on Aug. 1. The team was already scheduled for a two-week break when that camp ended.
Then there's Derrick Rose, carrying on in an atmosphere of injuries, after he's missed all but 10 games over the last two seasons because of knee surgeries.
"I have no fear, I have faith," Rose said when the practice ended. "I know that I'm going to be fine. I know I busted my butt for an entire two summers -- you could say, two seasons -- to get back to where I am right now. I'm just trying to keep it moving and stay positive every day."
Rose was on the floor, playing on George's team, when the injury occurred. George tried to block a fast-break layup by James Harden, landed awkwardly at the base of the basket support and his right leg snapped. Rose said he hasn't seen video of the accident and never wants to see it.
"My first thing was get away from the scene, because I didn't want to see it at first," Rose said. "It was too gruesome, turned my stomach. Afterward, just praying for him. It was kind of devastating, because you don't want that to happen to anyone, especially a star player that had so much going for him.
"For that to happen, it's kind of messed up. You wish that on no one. The only thing you can do is pray for him. During the season, I'm going to try to hit him up as much as possible, let him know I'm thinking about him."
Rose felt the two-week layoff came at the right time.
"The week off that we had, after we saw what happened to Paul, it kind of calmed us down a little bit," Rose said. "It was kind of devastating because you put yourself in that position, like, 'Damn, that could have been me.'"
During the time off, Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant, the league's MVP last season, dropped off the team, citing weariness. The rest of the players were back on the floor Thursday at the Quest Multisport center, including new addition Rudy Gay.
There are 16 players on the roster, and 12 will make the trip to Spain this month for the FIBA World Cup of Basketball.
It's still a talented group, with players such as Harden, Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis. Rose doesn't think the loss of George and Durant will turn him into more of a scorer on this team.
"When you lose players like that, there's definitely going to be some changes," Rose said. "But at the same time, we can't just quit and go home. We've got to compete and coming in today, the guys who are still on the team still have a drive and are still trying to make the team. So it seemed like it didn't take anybody down.
"My job is to pick up full court, harass the ball and get guys open shots. With my (Bulls) team, it's a little bit more scoring, but out here, you're just knocking down open jump shots."
Rose talked about more than USA Basketball on Thursday. One funny moment came when he was asked about the Bulls opening the regular season at New York, then returning home to face LeBron James and Cleveland for the home opener on Oct. 31. The NBA schedule was released Wednesday.
"That came out yesterday? I didn't know that," Rose said with a laugh. "That's nothing new for me. New York, you say, in New York? (Then) Halloween ... wow, wow. I'm going to have to get my tickets ready."
Rose also provided some insight into Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who is operating as the most intense assistant on the Team USA staff.
"It's been cool actually hanging with Thibs," Rose said. "I've seen another side to him. Not even talking basketball, just talking about life in general. Just seeing where he is and where his mind is. I'm happy that he's able to come out here and participate in this type of event. It gives him something to do besides being at the Berto and spying on people."
After another practice Friday, Team USA will play an exhibition against Brazil on Saturday at the United Center, before the team relocates again -- this time to New York.
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