NEW YORK -- Derrick Rose was back at U.S. practice on Thursday—and so too were the questions about his future.
The Bulls star point guard was a late scratch from Team USA's 105-62 exhibition win over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday and missed practice the two days leading up due to lingering knee soreness. But Rose returned to the floor Thursday and participated fully in Team USA's practice at the New York Athletic Club.
Rose said he plans to play in Friday’s exhibition against Puerto Rico and remains optimistic about playing in the FIBA World Cup. But the former MVP also said he won’t make a final determination about his FIBA status until after Friday’s game.
"If I can play, I'm going to play, no matter when it is or how many games it is," Rose said. "If I'm healthy enough to play, I'll play. I'm not worried about that. I think all the training that I've been doing in the past, I think I'm now prepared for it. Right now, it's about getting my legs up under me a little bit more."
While Rose remains focused on the physical aspect of his recovery, Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo said he's most worried about Rose's mental state.
"I think it's as much about where he is mentally as it is how he's feeling, and we're hoping of course for his benefit that he comes to a conclusion that he's ready to go," Colangelo told SI.com. "Then we can count on him, and then we can plan accordingly."
Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski also hinted that the team is unsure whether Rose will be making the trip. While he refused to speculate about what the U.S. would do if Rose couldn't make it, he did indicate the roster still remains a bit undetermined.
"We still have to complement about eight guys with four guys," Krzyzewski said. "Once we are sure of those eight guys then the complement of those other four will make the moves easier."
Rose said he did everything in practice he was asked to do and followed up the two-hour session with a light workout. The Bulls star hasn't been told how many minutes he'll be playing in Friday's exhibition, but said he expects to hear from the coaching staff soon.
"I'm feeling good. I'll give it a go tomorrow and see how it goes," he said.
The biggest concern hanging over Rose is how his surgically repaired knees will hold up against the rigors of the FIBA tournament. Rose played in Team USA's exhibition last Saturday against Brazil, but sat out out two practices and a game in the ensuing days due to a combination of soreness and playing it safe. How will his knee hold up when he's asked to play nine games in 16 days? Will he play sparingly? Will he be able to handle the rigors of playing on consecutive days?
Rose said the coaching staff has yet to discuss a rest plan for him should he make the trip to Spain, but plans to heed their advice.
Until then, Rose says he will continue to use his time with Team USA to "knock some rust off" and round his game back into shape.
As for Wednesday's DNP-CD, Rose said there was no reason to worry about his knees.
"I could have played, but you know, at some point you need to get a little more rest."
The same could be said for the FIBA World Cup in Spain. Even without Rose, the U.S. is loaded with Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard at the point. With Krzyzewski and Colangelo facing a host of difficult roster decisions, maybe Rose will make one for them.
Coach K said Rose doesn’t have to prove himself to make the 12-man roster, but does have to show he can stay on the floor and contribute to the team.
“He has to get the comfort level with his teammates,” Krzyzewski said. “You can’t just throw a guy in and expect him to be set. There has to be reps.”
Team USA and Derrick Rose face tough decisions
Sports Illustrated's Matt Dollinger and David Gardner discuss which players need to make an impact to be selected to the Team USA World Cup roster and if Derrick Rose should decide to withdraw his name from consideration.