GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Derrick Rose was one of the last players to leave the court after Monday’s practice as he tested his back to make sure he will be able to return to the Knicks’ lineup.
Rose went through the entire practice and reported no lower-back pain. He said the plan is for him to play Tuesday night when the Knicks face the Indiana Pacers to start a three-game homestand.
The former MVP, who missed about 58 percent of his team’s games during the previous five seasons, said he’s not concerned that this will be a lingering issue despite missing the past two games and four of the last six with the back issue.
“I just want to put all these injuries behind me and get on with the season,” Rose said. “I can’t let that get to me. Just want to put this behind me and just move forward.’’
Rose originally felt the spasms two weeks ago against Miami. He missed the next two games but then looked great in his return Dec. 11 against the Lakers. Rose shot 12-for-16 and scored 25 points in the Knicks’ win.
Two nights later in Phoenix, Rose aggravated his back injury when he took a hard fall after being fouled by Suns guard Eric Bledsoe in the first quarter.
After starting their five-game western trip with two wins, the Knicks (14-13) lost the last three, and Rose’s absence put a light on their need for point guard depth.
Late-game point guard play hurt the Knicks in their overtime loss to the Suns. Brandon Jennings struggled that night and rookie Ron Baker, who probably wouldn’t have played if Rose had been healthy, missed shots and committed turnovers down the stretch in regulation.
The Knicks dropped the last two games — at Golden State (without Rose and Carmelo Anthony) and at Denver — by a combined 26 points.
“We were playing pretty well,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “Unfortunately, right at the beginning of the Phoenix game, Derrick went down with the back spasms. So we were kind of scrambling from that point on. We’ve got to get back to those winning ways.”
Rose said the back issues have followed the same path both times. They started with spasms, went to tightness and stiffness, and then loosened up.
“I think it’s just a one-shot thing,” Rose said. “Before I fell, I wasn’t worried about it. Things like this are going to happen. It comes with the season — bumps and falls. I just got to find a way around it. I can’t let it get to me mentally.”
When he’s been healthy, Rose has played well in his first season with the Knicks. He has attacked the basket and shown the explosiveness at the rim that made him one of the toughest players to guard before a series of knee injuries and operations that slowed him with the Bulls. Rose is averaging 16.4 points and 4.4 assists.
The Knicks are 1-3 without Rose. They’ve been outscored by 55 points in those four games.
“Obviously, he’s very important for us,” Kristaps Porzingis said. “Just to have another guy that can attack and create for others and be the aggressor. Kind of take the pressure off Melo and myself. So yes, we need him back as soon as possible, but we want to make sure he’s healthy.”