The first NBA game in South America delivered the first hiccup in Derrick Rose’s return.

The Bulls held Rose out of their 83-81 exhibition victory over the Wizards at HSBC Arena on Saturday with left knee soreness that team officials termed “minor.”

With nothing structurally wrong with Rose’s surgically-repaired knee no MRI planned and Rose even dressing to warm up with his teammates and then sit on the bench that certainly looks true. But nothing is minor with any NBA superstar particularly one who’s the face of a franchise and returning from sitting out an entire season.

“I’m good” Rose said. “I could’ve played but the front office made the decision to sit me out. I can’t complain about it. It’s nothing huge. I know that I should be able to go next game.”

Not minor either is one of the game’s most recognizable faces sitting out the NBA Global Games’ first foray into a growing market -- where Rose’s jersey is the top-seller -- long ruled by soccer. Fans chanted Rose’s name in Portuguese between the third and fourth quarters.

“We never anticipated a straight line” said John Paxson Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations. “He had a little soreness and we are being ultra-conservative because it’s the third game of preseason. “We respect tremendously the fact that we’re in Brazil and what that means and we’d love for everybody to play Joakim (Noah who sat with a sore groin) too. But the reality is it’s too early to press anything.

“We know in this day and age that people are going to come up with some theory. It is minor knee soreness and we’re going to let him work through this the next day or two. That’s it.”

Asked if this is why management wanted Rose to return last season -- to get such starts and stops out of the way -- Paxson didn’t bite.