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Bulls downplay scratching Derrick Rose from preseason game

Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose shoots free throw during second half an NBA preseasbasketball game against Memphis Grizzlies Monday Oct. 7

Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose shoots a free throw during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, in St. Louis. The Bulls won 106-87. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

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Updated: October 13, 2013 6:34PM



RIO DE JANEIRO — Bulls vice president John Paxson knew exactly how it would look.

Hours before the first NBA game in Brazil tipped off, he had to discuss Derrick Rose’s late scratch because of soreness in his left knee.

“We know in this day and age that people are going to come up with some theory,’’ Paxson said. “It’s minor knee soreness, and we’re going to let him work through this the next day or two. That’s it.

“We never anticipated a straight line. He had a little soreness, and we’re being ultraconservative because it’s the third game of the preseason. We respect tremendously the fact that we’re in Brazil and what that means, and we’d love for everybody to play. But the reality is it’s too early to even press anything.’’

The Bulls improved to 3-0 in the preseason with an 83-81 victory over the Washington Wizards. In the fourth quarter, the 13,635 fans at the HSBC Arena chanted, “Rose . . . Rose . . . Rose.”

“It was just a little soreness, and they made the decision to make sure I didn’t play,’’ Rose said after the game. “It’s nothing huge. I should be able to go next game.

“You wouldn’t expect it to happen. But when it does happen, you can’t be down about it. I know that it’s feeling better day by day. I’m just trying to stay positive.’’

Paxson said there were no plans for an MRI exam when the team returns Sunday to Chicago. He also dismissed the idea that if Rose would’ve returned late last season, he might’ve gotten these hiccups out of the way.

“It’s irrelevant,’’ Paxson said. “The decision was made to not play last year, and now we’re going through this.’’

It also was revealed that this might not have been the first time Rose has been slowed by soreness since training camp began.

“After the games, he’s felt good,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. ‘‘And sometimes if there’s soreness, at this time of the season, we thought we wanted to be careful with how many days in a row he was going to go and things like that because it’s just the prudent thing to do. When we were going through two-a-days, he sat out the evening or he was on a bike, as was the rest of the team. If he needs rest, we’re going to give him rest.’’

In the first two preseason games, Rose averaged 13 points, three assists, three rebounds and 2.5 steals.

Center Joakim Noah (groin) also missed the game.

“I’m not nervous at all,’’ Rose said. “If it was up to me, I would be playing. They made the decision to sit me out. I can’t complain about it.’’

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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