After previously suffering a torn ACL and spending countless hours rehabilitating his left knee, Derrick Rose admitted that his reaction in the aftermath of surgically repairing the right-knee injury that would be diagnosed as a torn medial meniscus was one of self-pity.
“Yeah, I think right after the injury, just being in the back, they were doing tests on me. For me being in the training room so much, they were kind of like moving my leg in a way my leg was catching, but on the meniscus side, on the inside,” he recounted at Thursday morning’s press conference at the United Center. “Knowing what they told me like from a year ago, that when it catches something is wrong, I knew right then and there that it was something big that occurred and happened to me.
“I got the MRI. They told me it was my meniscus. The next day or two, I flew to Chicago and got the surgery,” Rose continued. “I started thinking about like ‘why me’ and all that stuff the day after the surgery.”
But the point guard isn’t wallowing in the aforementioned emotion and after having gone through an even lengthier, more strenuous process previously, Rose can now attack it with a sense of having been there before.
“Right now, they’re just telling me to come to therapy. I have therapy every day in the morning, doing that with Jen, and that’s about it. They were trying to get the traveling thing, traveling arrangements, together. I think they were waiting until I get off crutches, but we’ll have to see,” he explained about his rehabilitation.
“After I’m healed a little bit, after a month or two from now, just starting to pick up yoga and starting to swim a little bit more. I’m a guy that’s always tight, my body is always tight, my hips are always tight, so I think getting in the pool, staying loose, yoga with flexing and I think clearing your mind is going to help me out a lot with just becoming a better athlete.”
Rose also described the decision made to repair the tear, rather than simply removing it, which would have led to a shorter recovery period, but potentially bigger issues with his knee in the future.
“They were telling me about repairing it and if there wasn’t enough to repair it, then take it out and giving me all these scenarios about once I go under,” he said. “If there was only 30 percent, 35 percent, if they were willing to take a chance on repairing and I told them, ‘Yeah.’ But they went in and there was more than a 90 percent chance that they can save it.”
Rose has been in contact with his friend, Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook, about the injury, though not in detail. Westbrook, a fellow All-Star with a similarly explosive game, underwent surgery on his lateral meniscus after getting injured in the Thunder’s first-round playoff series last spring and returned to the court early this regular season.
“We talked here and there,” Rose said. “He texted me right after he heard about it, but didn’t really get a chance to talk about it, go really deep into like how he took care of his.”
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As far as the theory that he’s now an injury-prone player, the 25-year-old refuted it, insisting that both major injuries he’s incurred weren’t preventable situations.
“It was kind of like a freak accident, especially this last one. Try to talk to the doctors and hear them out here and there. But everybody has the same answer. They look at the film. Okay, the first one probably could’ve been I put too much pressure or weight on my left leg at that time. OK, you tore your ACL. This one, you went for a backdoor pass and you turned and tried to back down the court. I didn’t buckle my knee or anything. I paused for a second but I was able to still get up and run a few steps before I couldn’t walk or bear it anymore. It just happened,” he said.
“I think the first one, the ACL, OK, I wasn’t taking care of my body like I was supposed to, so of course I can blame that on I’m not taking care of my body. But this one, come on, man. I was having a good game. I was getting my rhythm the last two games that I played in; I was catching a rhythm of how I used to play. I think I was getting up to my condition more than anything, and for this one to happen just from me turning and running back up the court, there’s nothing I can say about it, nothing I can do about it except just take it. Be strong and I’ll be back in a couple of months.
“It’s just something that just happened. They say usually when something like this happens you tear your MCL; you tear your ACL along with it. It was just the meniscus. It’s just something I’ve got to deal with, but I’m used to being in this position. I’ve been in this position my whole life of just being the underdog. I could care less what people say about me, criticize my game or how I play. How I play is how I play, and that’s hard and like I said, I can tear it 10 more times, as long as I’m playing hard and giving the game my all, I can live with that the rest of my life,” Rose went on to say.
“I’m cool. I’m fine. I have faith. He has some plan for me. I don’t know what it is, but I can’t lose faith in him and really just knowing that my story isn’t done yet. In my life, I have everything but the game that I love playing and I’m going to try my hardest to get back on the court, and I know I should be out there pretty soon.”