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Derrick Rose denies reports of knee soreness, says 'body fatigue' led to absence

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Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose says "body fatigue," not soreness in his knees, led to his absence from Team USA's exhibition against the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, reports John Schuhmann of NBA.com.

Coming off two major knee surgeries in two years, Rose has been taking it slow in his return to high-level basketball with Team USA this summer. He's consistently impressed throughout the past few weeks, but left some concerned when he sat out the team's game against the Dominicans on Wednesday in New York.

With several prominent sources reporting that knee soreness was sidelining Rose, that concern was understandable. Nobody ever indicated that the issue was serious, but given the player's history, people around the league quickly began to wonder whether this was the latest setback in his ongoing struggle to stay healthy.

However, Rose brushed away questions regarding his knees on Thursday. "No, not the knees. No, no, no, no. You don't got to worry about that," the former MVP told Schuhmann.

And with so many spots on the Team USA roster still in flux, Rose's absence gave some bubble players expanded opportunities to book tickets to Spain. Since the Bulls star is a lock for the team, coach Mike Krzyzewski reportedly wanted to "make more minutes available for players vying for one of the squad's last few roster spots as final cuts approach."

So rather than get overly concerned with Rose's health, it appears this was simply an opportunity for Team USA to kill two birds with one stone. By sitting Rose, not only did the star guard get some much-needed rest in anticipation of a busy World Cup schedule, but it helped offer clarity to coaches as they sort out the final few spots on the roster.

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