It’s been almost two weeks since Derrick Rose left the Cleveland Cavaliers for what’s being called a self-imposed exile. Rose recently suffered a left ankle sprain, one of a number of injuries he’s sustained during his career, making him unable to play for the Cavs at this time anyway. He signed a one-year deal with the team for the vet’s minimum of $2.1 million, but he’s already missed 14 of the Cavs’ 21 games this season.
One can only imagine what the youngest NBA MVP could be going through. He was a superstar in his own right during his early years and was a true hometown hero playing for his native Chicago for a majority of his career, but significant injuries — a torn ACL in his left knee, a torn meniscus in his right knee, a medial meniscus tear in his right knee and a left orbital bone fracture — really put a damper on his potential to be one of the greats.
According to ESPN, since tearing his ACL in 2012, Rose has played in 237 out of a possible 412 regular season games.
I would be surprised if Rose decided to walk away from the NBA altogether. Yes, he’s endured a lot over the past 10 years, both mentally and physically, but I think his love for the game will overcome those feelings. That being said, a person’s body can only take so much.
You may remember Rose oddly missing a game during his brief stint as a New York Knick earlier this year. He was ultimately fined by the organization and he later apologized to the franchise and his teammates saying a “family issue” had arisen.
“For one, it had nothing to do with the team or basketball,” Rose said at the time. “But that’s the first time ever I felt like that emotionally, and I had to be with my family.”
Support from his past, present
Cavs’ teammate LeBron James has voiced his support for Rose, saying he wants Rose to make the best decision for himself and his family.
“At the end of the day, you can’t substitute nothing for happiness,” James said after the Cavs beat the Charlotte Hornets on Monday. “And obviously, we know the injuries that he’s been going through his whole career. We hope this ain’t the end, but if it is, I was happy I got an opportunity to spend a couple months with him and watch him be the great point guard that he once was.”
A league source shared with ESPN that Rose is “tired of being hurt, and it’s taking a toll on him mentally.” Another teammate, Dwyane Wade, also has Rose’s back, especially in regard to being injured. Prior to the Cavs’ game against the Hornets, Wade said he understands Rose’s dilemma and that he empathizes with Rose when fans get upset about him not playing.
“At the end of the day, this game is a small portion of your life,” Wade said. “Hopefully this is not going to define you. It’s something that you love to do, but if you can’t do it the way you want to do it, then you need to think about not doing it.”
From afar, Rose’s former Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau (now coaching the Minnesota Timberwolves) also offered his support. He told ESPN on Wednesday that he hasn’t encountered another player who’s gone through what Rose has gone through.
“Whatever he decides, I would support him 100 percent,” Thibodeau said. “I just want him to have peace of mind, that’s the biggest thing.”
Taj Gibson, a former teammate of Rose’s from his Chicago days (who is also playing for the Timberwolves), had similar sentiments but seemed sure Rose would return.
“Derrick is a good thinker. … He’s a real smart guy, so if he needs to get away, let him get away, let him adjust, and he’ll come back,” Gibson said. “He’s a tough guy. He’s from Chicago, man.”
Both Thibodeau and Gibson harped on the kind of person Rose is and his character and what he means to the city of Chicago.
“Anyone who knows him and who played with him, you know the type of person he is,” Thibodeau said. “I think that’s what made it so special. He cared about everyone.”
I genuinely wish Derrick Rose the best in whatever decision he ends up making. He’s honestly one of my favorite players and I’ve enjoyed watching him play ever since he entered the league. I was excited about him joining the Cavs and he’s had some solid performances during his time with the Wine and Gold, but he’s got to do what’s best for him.
Cavs need to look forward
December is supposed to be the month Isaiah Thomas makes his Cavaliers debut and I’m sure most fans are hoping that’s still the case. He’s been a fantastic cheerleader and hype man for the team from the sidelines, but it’s time we get to see him translate that energy onto the floor.
Thomas has been out with a hip injury, and according to Bleacher Report, he’s been participating in practices and has recently begun taking part in contact drills. Once he’s playing, he has the potential to drive the Cavaliers’ offense in a way that can only make them better. He averaged 37.9 percent from three-point range last season, which can help fill in for Kyrie Irving, who contributed 177 total three-pointers last season. The Cavs were averaging 13 threes a game last season with Irving, so Thomas can help bring that number back up. His skills as a point guard will also help Cleveland stay on pace and get the job done.