Knicks: Rose could return after hiatus from ASG

After missing two months with an ankle injury, there is optimism that shooting guard Derrick Rose will return to the New York Knicks’ lineup after the All-Star Break next week, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.

Rose has been making progress on the floor to return and, barring any hiccups, there’s confidence he’ll be ready to face the Miami Heat on Feb. 25, when the Knicks resume down the stretch of the season with hopes of making the play-in. sources said.

Rose told reporters Jan. 30 that he hoped to return “a little after the All-Star break,” and that the schedule remains firm, sources said.

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said Friday before his team played the Brooklyn Nets that Rose was not yet cleared for contact, but that is expected to happen soon, sources said. Rose is one of Thibodeau’s favorites and there is an urgency to get him back in the lineup to try to revive the Knicks’ postseason hopes. New York (25-33) is in 12th place in the East, 2.5 games behind the Atlanta Hawks for the 10th and final entry spot in the conference.

Rose, 33, hasn’t played since suffering the ankle injury against the Houston Rockets on Dec. 16. He underwent surgery on December 22 to remove a bone spur.

The Knicks have struggled to find consistency at point guard without Rose. He had been New York’s most aggressive rim hitter, shooting 53% for a team ranked 28th in field goal percentage at 45%, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Rose arrived in New York a year ago on a Feb. 8 deal with the Detroit Pistons and immediately made an impact on the season. He helped the Knicks finish fourth in the East and finished third in NBA Sixth Man of the Year voting. He signed a three-year, $43 million contract with the Knicks in August.

Rose was the 2011 NBA MVP with the Chicago Bulls, the youngest ever to win the award at age 21.

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Knicks: Rose could return after hiatus from ASG