If the defects are not that bad, you might want to consider a black pad. I am just going from what I have felt on the white oval hand pad vs what the flat LC pads feel like. I have not tried the 2 side by side on the same defect to know if this is true.
If money is a bit tight, stick with what you have. It would make things easier on possible cramping, but you might not have that problem. Stick with your plan on using the hand pads, no need to go spending money on a maybe.
The paint roller screen, no need to get aggressive with it, just nice back and forth motion to clean the pads. I hold the MF pads with the leading edge held up, so I cannot push it through an opening and damage them.
I just happen to find this after peeling the MF part off the foam backing when using the rotary in the grit guard pad cleaner.
Sounds like you have some good respect for what could happen, just keep your head about you, and you should do fine. We all started out with that questioning our abilities, and it is a good stance to have. Those that don't, generally speaking, are the ones that hour glass the hood of their vehicle with a rotary.