Despite the season being lost with the Knicks being unable to qualify for the playoffs and finish the season at .500, Derrick Rose and Julius Randle are still trying to ramp up their rehab so they can return to the lineup.
During a shootaround last Friday before the Knicks faced the Heat, Knicks Coach Tom Thibodeau told Knicks reporters that Rose has made the next step in his recovery from ankle surgery he underwent in December. According to the New York Post, Rose was peddling on a stationary bike in the hallway before the Knicks blew out the Hornets on Wednesday. He also joined the Knicks for morning shootaround and got shots up afterward.
“He did some in practice today,” Thibodeau said. “He’s in the next phase right now. He still hasn’t taken contact.”
The same goes for Randle, who was seen stretching to improve his sore knee before he missed his second straight game. Both the John Calipari disciples are attempting to return to the Knicks lineup before the Knicks play their regular-season finale on April 10 against the Raptors.
Thibs said it’s important for vets like Rose and Randle to return and bring their leadership to the younger Knicks on the roster despite the team being out of playoff contention. Rose has two years left on his contract and has produced well enough to make the Knicks believe he can contribute as a backup point guard when next season begins.
Unless League insiders report otherwise, Rose will miss his 45th straight game on Thursday once the Knicks and Heat play.