The former MVP point guard was back wearing his familiar uniform No. 1 on Friday, looking ready to lead the Chicago Bulls back to contention in the Eastern Conference after sitting out a season following knee surgery.
He said says he understands why fans were frustrated he didn't return last year, but he had to be careful. He said he never felt ready to "take on the double team."
Coach Tom Thibodeau called the criticism unwarranted, saying Rose was following orders by taking a cautious approach.
Rose tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Game 1 of the 2012 playoffs against Philadelphia. He is expected to play in the preseason opener at Indiana on Oct. 5.