After a self-imposed exile, Derrick Rose flew to Cleveland on Monday morning and will resume rehabilitation on his sprained ankle, clearing the way for his eventual return to the Cavaliers‘ active roster.
Rose, 29, left the team the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and had been deliberating whether he wanted to work toward returning from a sprained ankle to rejoin the Cavaliers this season or even continue his NBA career, league sources have told ESPN.
“He wants to be back, and he wants to play. And he’s too young. Too young, too talented to give it up this early. I know he’s frustrated, but like I said, I’m glad he’s in a good place now, and we’re glad to have him back.”
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, on Derrick Rose
He flew to Cleveland from Chicago, where he had been in recent days since leaving the Cavaliers, according to league sources. Rose has been communicating with only a scant few people, but his agent, B.J. Armstrong of Wasserman Media Group, and Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman have had a steady and cordial dialogue leading to Rose’s return on Monday morning, league sources said.
“This has been a very challenging and difficult time for Derrick,” Altman said in a statement. “We will continue to provide him with support and have patience as he re-joins his teammates and works his way back on to the court.”
Coach Tyronn Lue said Monday that he estimates it will be a “couple more weeks” before Rose will be able to return to play.
“He wants to be back, and he wants to play. And he’s too young. Too young, too talented to give it up this early,” Lue said. “I know he’s frustrated, but like I said, I’m glad he’s in a good place now, and we’re glad to have him back.”
Rose’s increasing frustration with injuries had caused him to question his desire to continue playing, league sources have said. The mental toll from a series of significant injuries that have diminished the production of the youngest MVP in NBA history have played a part in his personal soul-searching, league sources said.
Rose has missed 16 of the Cavs’ 23 games this season, including the past 12. The Cavaliers are on an 11-game winning streak.
Cavaliers All-Star LeBron James said “it’s impossible” to understand what Rose is going through.
“None of us can understand what he’s going through. It’s impossible to just, you just don’t know,” James said. “I support him, whatever he’s going through, and be a shield for him if he wants to use us. Hopefully he wants to use us. Just try to keep his mind on basketball and help him with everything else.”
Last season, Rose went missing from the New York Knicks on a game day without permission from the organization. He was fined by the Knicks and apologized to his teammates when he returned the next day.
The Cavaliers have said Rose’s current absence is different from the Knicks situation because he is not an active player and he communicated with the franchise at the outset of his leave.
Rose signed a one-year, $2.1 million veterans minimum deal to join the Cavaliers this season.
Rose was the 2011 NBA MVP and is a three-time NBA All-Star. The Chicago Bulls selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA draft.
ESPN Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.