If Derrick Rose feels good Saturday, he's going to be on the Team USA roster for the FIBA World Cup, which begins just over a week from now in Spain.
Rose appeared to be in good shape Friday, when he returned to the lineup for a 112-86 victory over Puerto Rico at Madison Square Garden. Rose had 6 points and 4 assists in 13 minutes.
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Earlier this week, Rose took two days off from practice and did not play in an exhibition blowout against Dominican Republic. The layoff was termed routine rest for the former MVP, who is coming off two knee surgeries. He returned to practice Thursday.
"I feel very confident about Derrick," Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters after the game. "I think Derrick feels very confident. Thought he played great tonight. And these guys want to play with him. That's part of getting back is to be around a group of peers."
Unless he experiences soreness in his knees Saturday morning, Rose figures to join the team on the flight to Spain. Team USA will play one more exhibition game against Slovenia on Tuesday before opening World Cup play next Saturday against Finland.
Once pool play begins next week, Team USA will play five games in six days, so endurance will be important. Rose started at point guard last week when the U.S. beat Brazil at the United Center. Cleveland's Kyrie Irving took over the starting role in the last two games and could stay there.
The third point guard on the roster, Portland's Damien Lillard, did not play at all Friday and seems likely to be one of four roster cuts.
Krzyzewski said after the game he'd prefer to reduce the roster from 16 to 12 players before departing for Spain.
"We feel that it's better to go with 12 because that's really difficult on anybody if they're not going to be on the team to travel that far," Krzyzewski said.
There was a report Utah's Gordon Hayward has already been told he won't make the final roster. Atlanta's Kyle Korver, Dallas' Chandler Parsons and Toronto's DeMar DeRozan are other potential cuts, or the U.S. could part with one of its big men, either Andre Drummond, DeMarcus Cousins or Mason Plumlee.
Golden State's Steph Curry led Team USA with 20 points on Friday. Curry, Irving, Rose, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried, Klay Thompson and Rudy Gay have gotten most of the meaningful minutes in the three exhibition games.
"He has gotten a lot better," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, a Team USA assistant, said of Rose. "The main thing is shaking the rust off. He will continue to build. If he needs a day off, he will get a day off. He says he feels great."