Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau would be happy to see point guard Derrick Rose play for Team USA this summer, even as he is out the rest of this NBA season because of knee surgery.
"If he's healthy enough, I think it would be great for him," Thibodeau said. "I know he feels the same way. I think that whole experience was tremendous for him (in the 2010 world championships). I know how strongly USA Basketball feels about him. If his health is there, I think it makes a lot of sense."
Rose, who was named to USA Basketball's 28-player pool that will form rosters for this summer's FIBA World Cup of Basketball in Spain and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, played 10 games this season before tearing the medial meniscus in his right knee in December. That came after he missed all of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, which cost him a spot on the 2012 London Olympics team.
But Rose is expected to be medically cleared by the summer. He now is traveling with the Bulls and doing light shooting drills during practices.
"Obviously, his health is the priority," Thibodeau said. "He's moving along well. He has to continue to be patient. But if he's cleared to play, and it's at the point where (playing in Spain) is the best thing for him, then I think he should do it."
Rose played for Team USA during its 2010 world championship run in Turkey, the summer before his 2010-11 NBA MVP season. He would like the shot at another championship, which could help his chances at being named to the 2016 Olympic roster.
"I'm looking forward to getting back on the court this summer and having the chance to represent our country," Rose said in a statement released Thursday by USA Basketball. "It's an honor to play for Team USA and (coach Mike Krzyzewski)."
Before Rose got hurt this season, he looked like a shadow of the explosive scorer he was before the ACL injury. He averaged 15.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists a game while shooting 35.4% from the field, all of which were career lows. Thibodeau thinks playing for Team USA will be beneficial in getting Rose back into game shape before the start of training camp.
"In 2010, that summer, when he had the opportunity to practice and play, I thought he hit the ground running (in the NBA season)," the coach said. "I thought that was great for him. That being said, you're going against pros every day, and it's high-level competition. I think you get an edge about you when you do stuff like that."
Still, with Rose's current health up in the air, Thibodeau says the focus must be on his long-term future.
The story NBA: Derrick Rose can play for Team USA with Chicago Bulls coach's blessing first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.