Derrick Rose won’t play in Knicks preseason

Derrick Rose won’t play in Knicks preseason

BOSTON – Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said Derrick Rose is “itching to play basketball,” but the point guard’s first game won’t be until the season opener Tuesday in Cleveland. A verdict in Rose’s civil sexual battery trial could come as early as Wednesday morning Pacific Time after the jury went into deliberations in Los Angeles. Rose isn’t expected to fly back until Thursday, when the Knicks finish up their preseason schedule in Brooklyn. It is unlikely Rose would attend Thursday’s game as a spectator. Hornacek said he prefers Rose gets settled and the coaching staff will meet with him Thursday at the team’s Tarrytown headquarters. Rose left the team 15 days ago. Hornacek has talked about Rose’s conditioning being a potential issue. Rose’s psyche is also something to watch after weeks of testimony in which sordid details emerged of his alleged sexual assault of a former girlfriend in 2013 with his two closest friends. Hornacek said he spoke to Rose on Tuesday night after closing arguments. “We’ve been talking to him,’’ Hornacek said. “That weights on your mind, these things. When it’s over, it’ll be over. He can move on and focus on basketball. I talked to him last night. He seems OK, just getting through the process. He’s itching to play . He knows that has to come first. He understands that.’’ Wednesday’s preseason match in Boston will be the fourth straight preseason game Rose will have missed. He’s also been absent for seven practices. All told, Rose will have one preseason game under his belt entering the opener. “It would’ve been nice if he was here and played and got in a rhythm with guys,’’ Hornacek said. “We do have some days of practice before the first game. Even after the Cleveland game, we’ll have time to do things.’’ The Knicks likely will not practice Friday, but Rose will be able to scrimmage Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The Knicks also have three days off after the Cavaliers opener before their home debut against the Grizzlies. Hornacek said Rose “probably’’ will start if he gets back into condition, but he won’t see the Barclays Center. “I don’t think he’ll get back until tomorrow the earliest,’’ Hornacek said. “Probably not [be at the Brooklyn game]. He’ll come in Friday and we’ll review a lot of things with him.’’ Hornacek isn’t worried about shooting guard Courtney Lee’s quiet preseason. He’s averaging just 5.0 points. “He’s done it for many years, plays hard, good defense, really shoots the ball,’’ Hornacek said. “We tried to get him to shoot more. Some of these guys know they’re not trying to force anything. They know their shots will come. When they play in a game and playing more, they’ll feel more comfortable not forcing things. I like Courtney’s not trying to force things.”

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