Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Pacers snapped the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 13-game win streak on Friday night, but what made Cleveland’s run so impressive was how successful they were with so many top rotation players out of the lineup.
Iman Shumpert is out after having surgery on his left knee. Tristan Thompson is out with a left calf strain. Isaiah Thomas is out with a labral tear in his right hip. Derrick Rose is out with a sprained left ankle and bone spur. Despite the adversity, the Cavaliers are 19-8, good for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference behind the 22-5 Boston Celtics.
While Thomas, Thompson, and Shumpert went through pretty straightforward treatment and recovery, the Derrick Rose situation was considerably more complicated. In fact, Rose was “evaluating his basketball future,” or in other words, considering retirement. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported back in November that a Cavaliers source told him Rose was “tired of being hurt and it’s taking a toll on him mentally.”
It’s easy to understand why Rose feels this way. There was a point in time where you could argue that he was the best player in the NBA, and at the very least, he was a franchise centerpiece that you could theoretically build a championship team around. Injuries and off-court issues derailed his career from there, and despite the fact that Cleveland looked like the perfect place for him this season, like Wojnarowski’s source said, the constant injuries have taken a toll on him.