Derrick Rose was sighted on the Knicks bench during their 95-93 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night, further suggesting that his recovery from ankle surgery is going well.
He will continue to travel with the team on the final legs of this three-game road trip, which also features stops in Miami against the Heat and Milwaukee against the defending-champion Bucks.
Rose underwent surgery on his ankle on Dec. 24 and was originally given an eight-week timetable to return. It’s been just over four weeks now and Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau is displaying cautious optimism about getting the veteran point guard back in the fold in February.
“I hate to speculate but I know he’s doing everything according to plan and there hasn’t been any setback,” Thibodeau said. “The swelling is all gone and he’s feeling a lot better. That’s the important thing.”
Thibodeau admitted that Rose is not running yet, but he is shooting from a stationary position and doing work in the pool.
The 33-year-old has been sidelined since the second half of the Knicks’ Dec. 16 game against the Houston Rockets when well-documented ankle soreness continued to worsen. In 26 games, he’s averaged 12 points, four assists, and three rebounds in 24.5 minutes per game as a vital member of the team’s point-guard rotation.
Thibodeau’s early comments stating that playing time wasn’t a given for new acquisition Cam Reddish certainly appear to be true.
After working his way back from an ankle issue to make his Knicks debut on Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers — which only lasted 5:23 and featured two points on 1-of-2 shooting — the 22-year-old sat on Monday night in Cleveland.
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With Kemba Walker back healthy, Thibodeau is opting to go with a nine-man rotation instead of 10. That makes Reddish the odd-man-out with rookie Quentin Grimes getting the nod over the Duke product.
“The one thing is just trying to establish a routine,’’ Thibodeau said on Sunday. “When we were playing well, we pretty much had a nine-man rotation. But when I have opportunities to get [Reddish] in, I want to get him in.”
The Knicks gave up a first-round pick and Kevin Knox for Reddish — who put in a trade request because he wasn’t getting enough playing time in Atlanta. So it’s logical to expect a trade that will open a clear path for the swingman to get regular and consistent playing time.
The NBA trade deadline is on Feb. 10.