Veteran point guard Derrick Rose is a professional basketball player, but the Cleveland Cavaliers are focused on Rose the person.
“This has been a very challenging and difficult time for Derrick,” Cavs general manager Koby Altman said Monday in a prepared statement.
Rose, 29, has missed all but seven of the Cavs’ 23 games with a left ankle sprain. The rash of injuries had Rose examining his future, possibly even contemplating retirement.
He was away from the team, taking time with his thoughts, before returning Monday to resume treatment and rehab on the ankle.
“We will continue to provide him with support and have patience as he re-joins his teammates and works his way back on to the court,” Altman said.
Everyone from LeBron James to Dwyane Wade has offered support during Rose’s sabbatical.
“Whenever he’s ready to tell us or whatever, we’re ready for that,” LeBron James told reporters prior to the Cavs’ win over Memphis on Saturday. “You don’t ever fast-track someone’s process of what they may be going through. When they’re ready to talk about it or ready to bring it to the forefront, as his teammates, we’ll be ready for it.
“I don’t know what the organization’s stand on that is. That’s different. From us as players, we don’t need an answer from him. We want him to be as great as he can be, off the floor first before he even thinks about being on the floor.”
Rose is averaging 14.3 points and just 1.7 assists on the season. The Cavs (16-7) have won 11 straight entering Monday’s game at Chicago.