When Derrick Rose plays more than expected, as he did Saturday night at the United Center when Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski re-inserted him late in the fourth quarter of a rout, worrywarts wondered why he was on the floor.
When Rose rested, as he chose to do three days this week before returning to practice Thursday, Chicago grew restless.
Complaints will come whether Rose plays too much or too little. Patience is recommended for Bulls fans documenting The Return II. So are earplugs.
The latest noise emanates from New York, where Rose practiced after a three-day layoff that practically started a prayer chain from Manhattan to 1901 W. Madison. Rose expects to be back Friday night running Team USA's offense, where he belongs.
"I'm feeling good," Rose said Thursday. "I'll give it a go tomorrow and see how it goes and just try to stay positive.''
Stay calm, everybody. The Bulls are, maintaining a healthy perspective about Rose's involvement with Team USA.
They understand Rose could get hurt playing against Puerto Rico. But so could any U.S. player in uniform. Paul George's injury past had nothing to do with the horrific way he broke his leg in Las Vegas. Rose once needed 10 stitches after cutting himself with an apple slicer at home as a Bulls rookie. Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime.
The NBA endorses teams removing a player from Team USA if he gets injured. So far, the Bulls haven't made that request. That says you, looking down from the ledge, are more worried than they are.
Sports of all kind, at all levels, carry inherent risk. The Bulls accept that risk or else they never would have allowed their $95 million investment, who has played in just 49 games the past three seasons, to step foot on the court for Team USA's first practice.
They understand that part of Rose's complete rehabilitation from his second knee surgery includes playing against elite competition to retrain his body how to recover. They have faith in Jen Swanson, the Bulls' director of sports performance, who is traveling with USA Basketball and has monitored Rose's rehab as closely as anyone. They remained steadfast Thursday, as some in the city panicked, that Rose taking time off because of soreness was part of a process.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau likes to preach about not skipping steps. For Rose, Team USA participation was a significant one.
This week's clamor sounded familiar. It was last October when Rose sat out the Bulls' exhibition game in Rio de Janeiro for similar reasons he missed Wednesday's Team USA game. Eventually, Rose worked through that soreness. The torn meniscus in his right knee he suffered a month later, ending his season, had nothing to do with the preseason discomfort in his left one.
Likewise, after listening Thursday to people who would be in a position to know, nothing about Rose's recent aches and pains represented a setback to the Bulls or any reason for alarm.
Nobody at the Berto Center interpreted Rose resting as a sign of something being seriously wrong. Nobody closest to the situation overreacted. Part of clearing up the uncertainty surrounding Rose's durability involves rediscovering his physical limitations in the days after games. Just because Rose looked the same on the court exploding to the basket doesn't mean he felt the same way afterward in the training room.
The Team USA experience allows Rose the luxury of an adjustment period before training camp. Unknowns will remain whether Rose plays every Team USA game or none of them. But the overall international experience already has benefited Rose, who deserves credit for recognizing the value of his involvement with USA Basketball.
He could have taken the safe route and stayed home, encasing himself in bubble wrap to avoid a catastrophe for which so many people have him fated. Instead, Rose has not only participated on Team USA, but also embraced the high expectations Krzyzewski established for him, especially after Kevin Durant surprisingly backed out.
Forget about becoming Team USA's most popular player since Durant left — as chants at Madison Square Garden suggested — Rose could wind up being its most valuable if he remains on the team for the FIBA World Cup.
Is that suddenly a big if because of Rose's soreness?
"In the perfect world, (Rose) would have practiced and played in everything we've done so far," USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo told reporters in New York. "That wasn't the case, so we've got a couple of days left here (to decide on Rose's status). Maybe all he really needed physically and mentally was to have that rest. Hopefully that's the case."
Hopefully, Rose boards a plane Saturday for Spain instead of heading back home, where he would encounter more turbulence over his health.