Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said Rose will return to his starting position after he left the team without notice on Monday and missed the Knicks’ 110-96 loss to the Pelicans with team brass not knowing for several hours where the team’s starting point guard was.
Rose said he is mentally ready to play again after explaining he left the team for a “family issue” to be with his mother in Chicago and that he had never “felt like that emotionally.”
“Of course, that is one of the reasons I came back,” Rose said at the team’s shootaround in Philadelphia on Wednesday morning. “I felt like if I needed a little more time I would have talked to the front office. I feel like everything is alright.
“The relationship I am building with Phil (Jackson) and Steve (Mills), I wouldn’t mind asking if I needed it,” Rose added of Knicks management. “Like I said, I feel fine. What happened a couple of days ago, that’s in the past.”
Carmelo Anthony said he hasn’t ever experienced what he and the Knicks went through on Monday night when they didn’t know where Rose was before and during their blowout loss to the Pelicans.
Anthony, who was ejected during that game for arguing with officials, said he wanted to “stay out of” commenting on Rose’s situation with his family but added it was “worrisome for everybody” not knowing where Rose was.
The reeling Knicks (17-21) are in dire need of a win. They’ve dropped eight-of-their-last-nine games and Anthony sounded the alarm on the season potentially spiraling even further.
“I think now is just a time that everybody can just exhale a little bit and kind of relax,” Anthony said of the Knicks entering this divisional game. “It was a little tense around here the last couple of days. You can’t play basketball like that. We all need to just relax and focus on tonight and put everything else behind us.
“I’ve seen it for the past couple of years,” Anthony later added of his concern for where the sinking Knicks can go if things don’t turn soon. “But I still don’t want to say (I’m) frustrated. It’s not worrisome. I’ve seen it before. I’ve seen this happen before. I’ve seen it go downhill quickly. I don’t think this is the situation. But everybody has to start playing better basketball. We have to turn this thing around quickly.”
Many will be watching to see how Rose responds not only on Wednesday in his return against Philadelphia but on Thursday when the Knicks face his old team, Chicago, at Madison Square Garden.
“No, it’s the past to tell you the truth,” Rose said when asked if he misses playing in Chicago. “Can’t think about the days I played for the Bulls in a Bulls uniform, that is all in the past.”
The Knicks hope Rose’s family situation and him leaving without word is also in the past.
“Well, you always wonder that when things happen with your family,” Hornacek said of Rose’s emotional state. “But he seems pretty good. He’s maybe a little more quiet than normal. He seems ready to play.
“We hope, if there’s something serious with your family and you’ve got to go just make sure you call us and let us know and go that route,” Hornacek added if he has any assurances that this won’t happen again with Rose. “I think he understands that now. It wasn’t handled great by him. He should’ve just let us know. So I don’t think it’ll happen again.”