The strange saga of Derrick Rose’s status took another twist when the Knicks point guard was ruled out of Thursday night’s game against the Pistons because of health and safety protocols.
Rose was held out of Tuesday’s game in San Antonio after an inconclusive test but was cleared to fly home with the team Wednesday after registering multiple negative COVID tests. Then he was out again Thursday, which would indicate another inconclusive or positive test result.
According to a league source, Rose was cleared by the NBA and team doctors to fly home with the team Wednesday, but the Knicks exercised extra precautions in addition to the usual protocol of wearing masks throughout the flight. That meant the team was not subject to contact tracing and could play the game without having another player lost.
A league source confirmed the information from Wednesday that Rose had an inconclusive test followed by multiple negative tests. But the NBA has had to navigate through many of these instances this season, with rapid tests displaying one result and the more thorough PCR test providing a different result.
If Rose is confirmed to have a positive test result, his time off the court still would be determined. If the clock starts with Thursday’s test, he will have seven days before the next game March 11 in Milwaukee.
"He’s just following the protocols set forth by the league," coach Tom Thibodeau said. " . . . So whatever they’re telling us to do, that’s what we’re doing. I know we’ve taken every precaution as a team. We have Dr. [Lisa] Callahan leading the charge for us and she’s in communication with the league. So whatever they’re telling us we have to do, that’s what we’ll do."
The Knicks have not had a player test positive before this. Their only player lost to the league’s health and safety protocols was Frank Ntilikina, who spent a week quarantined in a Miami hotel because of contact tracing that placed him in close contact with a person outside the team who tested positive.
"We have been fortunate," Thibodeau said. "But when you begin the season and you take all the things that go into a season, you plan on situations like this . . . You can have an injury at any time and you have to have a plan in place, a strategy for everything.
"So when one guy goes out, that’s why it’s so important to work with everyone who’s not in the rotation. You know that time is coming when they will be in the rotation, and your job is to make sure everyone is ready. So I’m proud of our guys because of their willingness to work and prepare themselves. That’s what leads me to have great confidence in them."