The left eye was still squinting but opening more than it had been since media day for Derrick Rose, who went through a contact practice and appears ready to play a few minutes in Friday's preseason game against Dallas.
Fred Hoiberg would certainly like to see Rose out there for at least a few minutes of game action before declaring his point guard fit to play on opening night.
“Derrick participated in a little bit of the contact, not a lot,” said Hoiberg, who wants to see Rose play 5-10 minutes if possible. “But it was good to see him out there. He’s getting more work with Randy (Brown, assistant coach). We’ll see. Maybe see how he feels in the morning. He has a lot of general soreness right now just from picking up the activity after basically not doing anything for two weeks.”
Hoiberg said Rose’s double vision would prevent him from playing but Rose said he would play anyways, as long as his vision doesn’t take a step back overnight.
“They just want me out there,” Rose said. “As long as I'm out there and moving around, I'm not worried about attacking or being aggressive. That's going to come. I just need to be out there.”
Playing with the mask seems to be growing on him, although he’s not sure if he’ll stay with it even after the eye heals. Catching the basketball and judging the speed of it are the major issues with the healing orbital bone, which was repaired a little over three weeks ago.
When asked by a reporter if he still has double vision, Rose said, “Yeah, yeah. Right now I see two of you. It’s kind of bad, but it’s preseason you know, so it’s all about getting out there and playing, just playing a couple of minutes and seeing how it goes.”
Rose worked up a good sweat in Charlotte before the game Monday, shooting around, and actually got hit in the face with his mask on during practice. He said it didn’t feel as bad as he thought it would, which could bring him some level of comfort as far as driving to the basket.
“Every day I’m improving. The eye itself, the swelling is going down, so just taking my time,” Rose said. “Practice has been going well. Been practicing pretty hard, and if everything is alright tomorrow, I’m going to play a little bit.”
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It seemed like a daily thing with Rose, as far as his progress headed toward opening night. But it seems as if, at the very least, playing on opening night against the Cleveland Cavaliers next Tuesday is not only in his sights but a priority.
“I mean for anybody opening night is opening night,” Rose said. “It’s when the season starts, so it’s your showcase to show everybody what you been doing the entire summer. So it’s a big night, but at the same time if I feel like I can’t go there’s no point in rushing it or pushing myself.”
Hoiberg stressed it’s a long season, especially with three games in four nights hitting the Bulls smack in the face to start the season but isn’t putting any pressure on Rose.
“To have him out there today, there’s a lot of rust, which there should be,” Hoiberg said. “Not many guys can take that amount of time off and come back and look like an All-Star right away. I think it’d be great for him if he could (play).”