Cleveland Cavaliers guard Derrick Rose is staying in communication with the franchise’s front office during his self-imposed exile, but his future status with the team remains unclear, league sources told ESPN.
Rose is deliberating whether he wants to work toward returning from a sprained ankle to rejoin the Cavaliers this season, or even continue his NBA career, league sources said.
Rose, 29, has missed 12 of the Cavs’ 19 games this season, including the past eight because of a sprained left ankle.
He left the Cavaliers on Wednesday, league sources said. Rose’s increasing frustration with injuries is causing him to question his desire to continue playing, league sources said. The mental toll from a series of significant injuries that have diminished the production of the youngest NBA Most Valuable Player in history have played a part in the personal soul-searching on Rose’s future, league sources said.
Rose signed a one-year, $2.1 million veteran’s minimum deal to join the Cavaliers this season. So far, Cleveland has been patient with Rose’s needs and shown no inclination to suspend or dock him salary, league sources said. Because of the left ankle sprain, Rose isn’t healthy to play now anyway.
Last season, Rose went missing from the New York Knicks on a game day without permission from the organization. He was fined by the Knicks and apologized to his teammates when he returned the next day.
The Cavaliers say Rose’s current absence is different than the Knicks situation because he is not an active player and he communicated with the franchise at the outset of his leave.
One week ago, Lue said that Rose would be out “at least” the next two weeks because of his ankle injury. Rose rolled the ankle Oct. 20 when he landed awkwardly following a flagrant foul from then-Milwaukee Bucks big man Greg Monroe.
Cleveland put Rose in a walking boot last week in hopes of alleviating pressure on his left foot.
Rose was the 2011 NBA MVP and is a three-time NBA All-Star. The Chicago Bulls selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA draft.
The Cavaliers are hopeful that All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas, the key player in the Kyrie Irving trade to Boston, could be back at some point in December. Thomas has been increasing the progression and intensity of his rehabilitation and workouts. He has been trying to return from a hip injury that ended his season prematurely in the Eastern Conference finals last spring.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.