SAN FRANCISCO — Here’s the very latest on whether Derrick Rose will be able to play against the Warriors on Thursday night:
“Who knows?” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said on Wednesday.
Rose, who did not practice, is listed as questionable with lower back stiffness for Thursday’s game against Golden State, which is 22-4 overall and 9-2 at home.
Rose, who missed two games with a sore back last week, re-injured it when he was fouled and came down hard on it in the first quarter of Tuesday’s 113-111 loss to the Suns in Phoenix. Rose left the game shortly after making his two foul shots. They were his only points of the night.
“I don’t know what triggered it [Tuesday],” Rose said. “It could have been the fall. I really don’t know. I got up. I really didn’t feel it as the time, but as I was in the game, the longer I stayed in the game I felt it. About this whole situation, I just have to be smart and really watch myself.”
Rose would much rather play than watch when the Knicks visit Golden State. One of the games he missed was another big one when the Knicks hosted the Cavaliers on Dec. 7. Cleveland won by 32 points.
“I live for these games,” Rose said. “Even the Cavs game. I made a name for myself playing in big games. Not being able to participate in those games, it [stinks]. You’re a competitor and you work so hard in the offseason trying to get your game geared up for these games. It [stinks] but I just have to listen to my body.
“One of the goals this year was me playing in every game. I missed a few already. But it is frustrating missing big games. Games period, but especially these games against top teams.”
Hornacek said Brandon Jennings will start and either Ron Baker or Sasha Vujacic will be the backup if Rose can’t play. Baker played 15 minutes on Tuesday, one below his season high, while Vujacic didn’t get off the bench.
Of course, Hornacek would rather have Rose.
“The way he’s played, he’s really looking like he’s starting to get back to his old self,” Hornacek said. “And then if he can’t play, that’s a guy that you wish you had out there. That’s what it is in the NBA. Might not be able to play all 82. These are not related to any other injuries he’s had in the past, I don’t believe. It’s something that came up and we’ll take him for as many games as we can.”
The Knicks are 2-1 on this Western swing that ends Saturday in Denver. In his last full game, on Sunday against the Lakers, Rose scored 25 in a victory.
“The frustrating thing about it is I think I’m in a great rhythm right now,” Rose said. “Me being off the court messes with that rhythm a little bit. That’s the most frustrating thing about it, but it’s a long season. I really have to be smart about it. That’s pretty much it. I really can’t tell right now. [Thursday] I might feel all right. I really have to see how I feel and see how my body reacts to the treatment.”