After missing the past 12 games and leaving the team to consider whether he even wanted to continue his NBA career, Derrick Rose is officially returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com was the first to break the news and noted that the point guard would be meeting with team officials by Monday’s end:
After a self-imposed exile, guard Derrick Rose flew to Cleveland this morning and plans to report to the Cavaliers practice facility, league sources tell ESPN. He’s expected to meet with front office officials and begin the process of returning to the team.
Rose went M.I.A. while with the New York Knicks last season, abruptly leaving the building before a game versus the New Orleans Pelicans. But this was not that. His absence lasted longer, and unlike his situation with the Knicks, he remained in contact with the Cavaliers every step of the way.
Hence general manager Koby Altman’s feel-good statement on Rose’s return:
Starting on Monday, December 4, Cavaliers guard Derrick Rose will resume the treatment and rehabilitation process for his left ankle injury at Cleveland Clinic Courts as the next step in his return to the team. Rose’s status will be updated as appropriate when he reaches the point of returning to play.
Quote from Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman:
“This has been a very challenging and difficult time for Derrick. 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.”
The 2010-11 MVP has been dealing with a sprained ankle in recent weeks, and it’s unclear how far away he is from returning to the court now that he’s back with Cleveland in an official capacity. Whenever he gets the green light, though, he’ll be rejoining a scorching-hot Cavaliers squad that has now won 12 straight on the backs of better defense and a potent bench led by Dwyane Wade.
Where will Rose fit into all this? We can’t be sure. The Cavaliers still need point guards. Jose Calderon isn’t a long-term answer, and Isaiah Thomas is at least a couple weeks away from his return. Starting Rose off the bat might be asking for trouble, since Cleveland is so hot right now, but head coach Tyronn Lue could look to inject even more offense into the bench by playing Rose in small bursts.