Derrick Rose recently returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers fold after being granted time away as he contemplated his future in the NBA.
After suffering an ankle injury in just his second game with the team, the veteran was reportedly struggling with the mental and physical toll of another setback.
The point guard's career has been marred by multiple career-threatening injuries and according to several reports, he was seriously considering retirement.
But after taking time to think things through, Rose ultimately decided to continue playing and returned to the Cavs.
The 29-year-old sat down for an interview with The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears recently and opened up for the first time about his state of mind and his absence from the team.
He explained that he wasn't suffering from depression or any emotional stress, contrary to reports.
“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.”
D.Rose was the most explosive guard in the NBA in 2011 and became the youngest MVP winner and revolutionized his position with his speed and athleticism. But two ACL injuries have derailed his career and he hasn't been the same player since.
His self-imposed exile from the Cavaliers wasn't his first unexplained absence as he went AWOL last year and missed a game for the New York Knicks.
Spears asked Rose if he considered retirement but he dismissed this immediately and stated that he still loves playing basketball.
“No. No. That’s stupid,” Rose said. “I don’t want to even talk about that. But I’m just happy that LeBron understood.
"I'm in love with the game. The love of the game. I still am a winner. I still love learning the game. Where else can you learn more than from Golden State or [Cleveland]? LeBron has been to the Finals eight times and seven straight years.
"I played against him a lot of times. I've learned so much from him and the whole team. It's just a fun experience being around this team."
The three-time All-Star has not featured for Cleveland since early November but is making good progress and could return in the coming weeks along with Isaiah Thomas.
The presence of the two point guards will add another dimension to the Wine and Gold and provide more firepower to compete with the best teams.