NEW YORKIf anybody can relate to Derrick Rose, these days, its the Knicks backcourt.
From Jason Kidd to Oak Park, Ill., native Iman Shumpert, New Yorks guards, from old to young, have undergone serious early-career knee injuries.
Kidd, a future Hall of Famer, wasnt a high-flying athlete on the level of Rose, but had some explosiveness in his younger days, particularly prior to having microfracture surgery. Shumpert, in his second NBA season, tore his ACL the same day Rose did and while hes nearing his return to the floor, lingering is the question of whether he regain his prodigious leaping ability.
Then, theres Baron Davis, a player whos been the victim of multiple knee injuries throughout his playing daysstarting with a torn ACL after a dunk in the NCAA Tournament when he was at UCLAand after yet another devastating injury in last seasons playoffs, it appeared as though his career was finally over.
Davis, who isnt officially retired and is still rehabilitating his knee with the Knicks while serving as an unofficial team ambassador, has been keeping an eye on Roses progress, especially since the athleticism of the point guards at the same stage of their careers is remarkably similar.
It was a hard thing to go through, but mentally, it put me in a place where I just became even more reckless and went even hard. Coming back after the injury, I became more explosive because I learned how to jump properly. I learned how to balance it and both legs were strong, so I was able to jump off one leg, two feet, it didnt really matter, he told CSNChicago.com.
With D-Rose, hes such a great athlete, that thats the least of his problems and him being grounded for a little bit is going to help him improve his game and gradually get back to where he needs to be. But his footwork and everything, itll be better than it was before he got hurt.
Davis, a Los Angeles native, met Rose, who spends his summers in L.A., there during a past offseason and has kept in touch ever since. After Roses injury last April, Davis has been dispensing advice to the younger player.
I text D-Rose all the time, said Davis, who called Rose his favorite player in the league.
Just texting and keep encouraging him, he continued. Hes got it. Just have supreme confidence and know that youre coming back.
He reminds me of me when I was 20, 21, early in my career. I always say hes the closest comparison.
Given that Davis persevered through multiple injuries to be a productive NBA player, there could be worse things to be compared to.