Answer: Assuming the plant is still dormant, soak and plant it immediately! Start by removing any rotten or mushy roots, then soak the bare roots in a bucket of water overnight, then dig your hole (leaving the rose in the water -- don't let the roots dry out) and plant it. Drape the roots over a "cone" of soil at the bottom of the hole, then settle soil around it. Be sure it is sitting at the same level as it was at the nursery. Water it in very well (lots of water) to settle the soil.
Now mound extra soil up over the top of the rose as best you can to help it keep from drying out. Once you see new growth, begin to uncover it. Keep an eye on the moisture to be sure it receives at least an inch of water a week all season.
If the plant has already truly leafed out and you are afraid it will freeze, you can plant it in a container and baby it until the weather settles -- set it outside in a sheltered spot (an eastern exposure is good) and bring it in to a non freezing but cold spot if the temperatures dip to the low thirties. Be sure to water it as needed.
Good luck with your new rose!
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