Rose opens door for return during Cavs' trip
- John Matiesen
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Out of the lineup for nearly two months with a left ankle injury, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Derrick Rose said Friday "there's a chance" he will return to action during his team's current five-game road trip.
Rose, signed to a veteran's minimum deal in the offseason, is averaging 14.3 points on 47 percent shooting along with 2.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists in seven appearances this season. He last played Nov. 7 in a 124-119 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Since then, Rose has left the team on a nearly two-week self-imposed exile in which the 29-year-old former league MVP contemplated retirement, sources told JJA Sport Studio. He returned to the team on Dec. 6 and has been rehabbing his left ankle in hopes of a return.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said whenever Rose is ready to play, he will work his way back into the rotation when Dwyane Wade -- the Cavs' primary backup point guard -- doesn't play.
"I think playing D-Wade on a lot of back-to-backs has been tough for him," Lue said. "[There are] some games where he doesn't feel great, but we don't really have the extra ball handler to sit him. So when D-Rose gets back, he'll definitely help with that and help with D-Wade getting his rest and being able to feel good on the floor."
Lue said he has already approached the 35-year-old Wade about the plan.
"I talked to him already," Lue said before taking a playful shot at Wade's age. "[He's] 50 years old, so sometimes you just don't have it. But with all the guys being out, just don't have the luxury right now. So we talked about it. He understands and he's for it."
Rose said he's game for whatever reintegration plan the Cavs have for him.
"It's whatever they want," Rose said after the team's practice in Orlando, Florida. "I'm not trying to be a distraction to the team or anything like that. I'm here to be a professional about any situation I get put into and to own up to it and be a man about it. I just want to win. No matter how many minutes I'm playing, I'm not a stat guy. I did all that in the past. Now it's time for me to win a championship."
After his two-week absence, Rose revealed to reporters that he's dealing with a bone spur in his left ankle. On Friday, Rose said Cleveland's rehab program has helped rid him of any pain in the ankle. He has been able to run and has yet to suffer a setback.
"It's improving because of rehab," Rose said. "I'm picking up my rehab every other day. I'm doing conditioning, and they've got me doing floor work every day. It's coming along pretty well. Thank God I don't have to worry about surgery."
Rose is unlikely to play Saturday against the Orlando Magic. The Cavs' trip continues through Minnesota on Monday, followed by Toronto on Thursday and Indiana on Friday. With Isaiah Thomas slated to sit out the second night of a back-to-back against Indiana, Rose could make his return against the Pacers.
"Getting the most out of all my days and just appreciating and taking in the position I'm in right now," Rose said. "I'm on a great team, no point in rushing back too soon. I feel like that's what I did the first time."
Rose hurt his ankle in the Cavs' second game of the season, missed four games, returned to play five more games and has not played since.
Lue said he is acquiescing to Cavs head athletic trainer Steve Spiro as to when Rose will be finally cleared to play again.
"I feel like I can fit anywhere," Rose said when asked what his role will look like for the rest of the season. "Like I said, I just want to be a part of the team. I said that before the season. I could be the equipment guy here, it really don't matter.
"I just want to be a part of it. ... I want to be in the heat of the moment, I want to feel it. I want to play games, too. Play as many games as possible, but it's going to take time."