His departure led to speculation that the former MVP was dealing with emotional difficulties and possibly contemplating retirement.
He sat down with The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears for an interview published Wednesday and said that neither instance was true.
“You don’t have to worry about me,” Rose told Spears. “I’m not depressed. I’m good. A lot of people think I’m depressed because of what I’m going through. It’s the total opposite. I learned from my mistakes three or four years ago when I put myself into a shell.”
Rose, whose explosive athleticism pointed to the 2011 MVP and what seemed a lasting legacy as one of the league’s elite point guards, has not been the same player since a rash of knee injuries robbed him of his edge.
This year’s unexplained absence isn’t the first of his career. He skipped a game without notice while playing for the New York Knicks during the 2016-17 season.
Spears asked Rose if he considered retiring during his absence.
“No. No. That’s stupid,” Rose said. “I don’t want to even talk about that. But I’m just happy that LeBron understood.”
While Rose is back participating with the team, his ankle injury still lingers, and he has yet to return to the court. He told Spears that he can now run, where he couldn’t a month ago, but was murky in his responses about his progress and potential return to action.
“I can’t think about a due date or is this going to be the day,” Rose said. “It’s about me making the most of my days, getting treatment and staying atop everything so I can return as soon as possible.”