News of Derrick Rose’s knee injury cast a somber mood over the entire NBA on Saturday.
At AmericanAirlines Arena, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra , Dwyane Wade and LeBron James expressed sadness for the former MVP, who will need surgery to correct a torn meniscus.
“I feel extremely bad for him,” James said. “I was actually watching the game [Friday night] and that’s the one thing that I feared the most, that he had hurt his knee pretty bad. And it sucks. I’m disappointed for him. I’m sad for him. Everything. The guy worked so hard to get back on the floor.”
Rose left the Bulls’ game Friday at Portland’s Rose Garden after a noncontact injury to his right knee. He received an MRI in Los Angeles to confirm the torn meniscus. Rose tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the 2012 playoffs. He then missed the entire 2012-13 season.
Depending on the extent of the injury, Rose could either have his meniscus removed, shaved away or reattached. Players usually can return from injuries sooner if the meniscus is removed but, in some cases, it can affect them later in their career, according to Wade.
Wade had his meniscus removed after his first season at Marquette and said the procedure “opened me up to knee trouble and knee problems.”
Wade wasn’t given any options for different procedures in college.
“I wasn’t educated on it,” Wade said. “I didn’t know. I just knew it was hurting, and I wanted it fixed. That was after my first year at Marquette, and I never dealt with any injury until that time. It was all new to me, and I wanted to get back on the court.”
Spoelstra learned about Rose’s injury just before walking into his pregame news conference with reporters.
“That’s horrible news,” Spoelstra said.
“As competitors, you have that in a certain box, but at the same time you want to see guys out there. You know how much he has put into getting back to playing, and he is too good for the game to not be out there playing.
“If I were just an average fan and not working for the Miami Heat, I would tune into their games to watch Derrick Rose play. So hopefully it’s not too bad. Hopefully, he can come back soon.”
With so many players at his disposal, Spoelstra’s message to his team has been simple lately: “I tell our guys constantly, ‘You should not be saving it.’
“Not when there is someone who can come in and is going to produce and is ready and is willing,” Spoelstra added. “You have to make the most of your minutes, and that doesn’t mean jacking up shots; it means feel the burn, let it go and you shouldn’t be saving any in the tank. Our guys have been very good about that.”
The Heat’s overall defensive rating (a team’s points allowed per 100 possessions) was near the bottom of the NBA’s rankings seven games into the season.
But Miami has improved dramatically since that embarrassing loss to Boston. The Heat’s defensive rating is now 12th in the NBA at 101.4 points per 100 possessions.
In the Heat’s five consecutive victories after losing to Boston, Miami allowed just 95.4 points per 100 possessions.
“Our rotation defensively in terms of five-man units have been much more consistent now,” Spoelstra said. “The starters have gotten us off to a better start, but once we get into the rotation our guys are taking pride in the unit that they’re playing with.”