EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Derrick Rose was a spectator at practice for the second straight day Tuesday. But the Chicago Bulls star is expected to play Wednesday when the national team plays an exhibition game against the Dominican Republic at the Garden.
"Hopefully I am," Rose said. "I didn't do anything today but got treatment and really today was another rest day."
Rose is returning from November knee surgery that sidelined him for the last 72 games of the Bulls' season. As important as he is to the U.S. team in its quest to win the World Cup in Spain, he's more important to the Bulls. So the plan is to take it slow with Rose and not overdo it.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski said he's not looking for leadership from Rose, but for him to continue to work his way back after missing all but 10 games over the last two seasons.
"Not so much leadership," Krzyzewski said. "He needs to keep finding himself and his rhythm and not worry about leading a team. [James] Harden and [Stephen] Curry are really good with that. But Derrick has done a good job."
Krzyzewski said he expects everyone to be available for the exhibition game. But USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said if Rose plays, he probably won't start since he missed the last two practices. Kyrie Irving could get the start instead.
Rose started and played 26 minutes in Team USA's win over Brazil on Saturday night in Chicago. Rose got treatment and practiced shooting Tuesday, and remains optimistic about his progress.
"I'm really, really happy with where I am right now as far as healthwise, recovering very quickly," Rose said. "I'm just trying to take my time and get rest. We have a long schedule ahead of us, and I'm just trying to get as much rest as possible."
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is an assistant on the U.S. team, and he said this experience will be a good way for Rose to get ready for the NBA season.
"He put a lot of work into rehab," Thibodeau said. "We had him practice with the summer league team and that went well. We felt that if that goes well, then the next step will be USA basketball, and it's good for him. He gets to measure where he is -- and this is high-level competition. This is a real positive for him and I think he's taking a lot out of it.
"We're going to take it day by day. If he needs some rest, we'll give him rest. There are no restrictions on him. So if he's feeling good, he'll play."