LeBron James says he will reach out to Derrick Rose to personally welcome him back following his yearlong layoff before the Miami Heat face the Chicago Bulls in Tuesday's regular-season opener.

Asked about the prospects of facing Rose, James said after Sunday's practice that it won't be difficult to set aside his competitive nature to take a moment and appreciate how the Bulls' star guard has handled his recovery from 2012 knee surgery that forced him to miss all of last season.

James said he especially admires Rose for not giving in to any outside pressure to return during last season's playoff run. After upsetting the Heat in Miami with a Game 1 victory, the short-handed Bulls lost four straight to James and the Heat and were eliminated in the second round.

"I'm happy and thrilled that he's back," James said as the Heat prepared to open defense of their second straight NBA championship. "I'm happy with what he did last year, to be able to stand strong throughout everything, throughout all of the adversity of everybody criticizing him about what he should do. He did what was best for him."

The Heat spent the bulk of Sunday's workout focusing on conditioning and closed the session with a scrimmage. The team will lock in on their specific preparation for the Bulls when they resume practice on Monday.

But Miami's players and coaches have taken notice of how impressive Rose has looked during the Bulls' 8-0 run through the preseason. Rose sat out of one game to deal with soreness in his surgically repaired left knee but has averaged 20.7 points, 5.0 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 27.4 minutes over seven games.