RIO DE JANEIRO — Even though it was just a preseason game, John Wall was eagerly anticipating the chance to go up against Derrick Rose on Saturday when the Washington Wizards played the Chicago Bulls in the first-ever NBA game in South America. But Wall won’t get that chance, as Rose was scratched with left knee soreness.
Rose had played the first Bulls’ first two preseason games without any apparent complications, scoring 13 points in each, but he began feeling discomfort in Friday’s practice and was pulled. Wall said this week that he thought Rose was back “to his old self.”
“I seen him all summer working out,” Wall said of Rose. “Seventeen months, you’re going to be back to yourself. He had time to think about it. They said he never lifted before in his legs, so all he did was get them stronger and get them back. So just having a long time off, and really coming back until he felt like it, you can easily be yourself. I think sometimes, certain people see certain guys go through a different process and their body heal different and they come back in a certain amount of months. Sometimes it takes a lot of time. I think he did what had to do for himself.”
Wall has been trying to mirror Rose’s career ever since he chose to play for John Calipari at Kentucky. Wall also went onto become the No. 1 pick, like Rose, and later hired Rob McClanaghan, the trainer who helped Rose win the MVP award in 2011. This season, Rose and Wall both entered the season with something to prove after recovering from different left knee injuries. Wall missed the first 33 games last season with a stress injury while Rose sat out the entire 2012-13 season to recover from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in April 2012.
“I think I have more to show,” Wall said. “I think everybody knows what Derrick is and what he can do, winning the MVP at the youngest age. Everybody going to always try to see what you can do coming off a knee injury. I think he’s doing what he’s supposed to do right now, even though it’s just the preseason.”
Rose complemented Wall on his development in the past year. “He has grown as a player,” Rose said this week. “The game has slowed down for him.”