PHOENIX — Derrick Rose appeared on the floor at the Knicks' morning shootaround Friday, not in uniform and not ready to rejoin the team on the court. But the Knicks at least had him with them, helping to provide some measure of leadership as they struggle through a downward spiral.
Rose hasn't played since Dec. 16. He had ankle surgery later in December and had a second procedure last week to deal with an infection at the site of the first surgery.
"He can’t really do much," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Just gotta be patient, let it clear up. That’s it . . . He’s not supposed to be doing a lot right now other than follow [medical advice]. He’s been pretty diligent with that. He can walk around. He can form shoot if he’s not leaving his feet. He can’t do a whole lot right now. Hopefully in a week or so that’ll be cleared up."
After Rose's second surgical procedure last week, an Instagram video was posted by his fiancee, Alaina Anderson, as he headed home from the hospital. In it, he said, "The goal is to come back stronger, come back with more knowledge, more discipline, more determination, more willpower. Everything. Because [doubters] think it’s sweet. ‘Ah man, you’re having surgery again. You probably think about calling it a wrap.’ Haha, jokes on you."
Thibodeau said Rose’s focus is on rehabilitation and that with his experience battling back from injuries and surgical procedures, he is up for the task.
"Well, like anyone, experience teaches you a lot, and when you made it through a number of things like he has, he can draw from all those experiences," Thibodeau said. "So I think that’s helpful for him. He doesn’t get up. He doesn’t get down. He’s just like, ‘OK, this is what it is. This is what I gotta work through.’ And for every pro player, that’s part of this: to be mentally tough when you’re facing adversity."
Nerlens Noel has been sidelined much of the season by a sore left knee and now is working through plantar fasciitis. He's with the team and in uniform but is not likely to play.
"Still working his way through it," Thibodeau said. "He’s gotta get healthy. That’s the big thing, so we want to see consistency in practices, in feeling good, so it’s not in and out. That’s probably the biggest thing.
"We could use him at some point. Like, he’s moving in the right direction. It’s just, like I said, the big thing is him being healthy over a period of time . . . I love Nerls. He’s had some great moments for us. He hasn’t been healthy this year. That’s the big thing."