Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley expresses support for Bulls star Derrick Rose

Mike Conley can’t recall the last time he played a regular season game against Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose.

Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley was among the NBA players who expressed support for Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose, who will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury he suffered last week against Portland. (Photo by Christopher Davis/MemphiSport)

REACHING OUT — Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley was among a host of NBA players who expressed support for Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose, who will miss the remainder of the season with a severe knee injury he suffered last week against Portland. (Photo by Chris Evans/MemphiSport)

“It’s been a while,” the Memphis Grizzlies point guard told MemphiSport following Monday night’s loss against the Houston Rockets in FedExForum. “I got the chance to play against him in the preseason. But it’s not the regular season, so it’s weird not having played against him in the last two or three years.”

The Conley-versus-Rose matchup will be delayed at least until sometime during the 2014-15 season. That’s because the Bulls on Monday announced that Rose, the 2010-11 league MVP, will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a meniscus tear to his right knee.

Rose, a former University of Memphis star who led the Tigers to the 2008 national title game, injured his right knee in the third quarter of last Friday’s game against the Portland Trailblazers. The 25-year-old Rose had the medial meniscus repaired Monday in Chicago and the surgery was successful, according to various media reports.

Rose’s season-ending injury comes 18 months after the Chicago native tore his ACL in Game 1 of the opening round of the playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers. He missed the entire 2012-13 season, although he returned to full contact drills in January 2013 and doctors cleared him to play approximately two months later.

Rose’s latest injury sent shock waves around the league, most notably among a number of NBA players, who immediately turned to social media sites and posted complimentary messages and well-wishes to show support for the three-time All-Star.

Prior to his injury, Rose was the Bulls’ second-leading scorer, averaging 15.9 points and 31.1 minutes per game.

“You know, everybody was wishing him well,” said Conley, who also expressed his support for Rose via Twitter.

But after witnessing Rose play inspired basketball by scoring 13 points in the Bulls’ 106-87 win over the Grizzlies in Memphis’ preseason opener Oct. 7 in St. Louis, Conley sensed that Rose was on track to return to form much like his MVP campaign two years ago.

Besides the Bulls-Grizzlies preseason game last month, Conley said he can't recall the last regular-season meeting between he and Rose, who has endured a number of injuries in recent years. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

Besides the Bulls-Grizzlies preseason game last month, Conley said he can’t recall the last regular-season meeting between he and Rose, who has endured a number of injuries in recent years. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

“I told him I was happy to see him,” Conley said of Rose. “I told him he looks like he’s getting stronger and getting better. He was happy; obviously, he was playing hard. It was good to see him out on the court.”

After word spread that Rose would miss the remainder of the season due to yet another devastating injury, Conley, like a number of Rose’s peers, found the news difficult to stomach.

“You know it hurts man,” Conley, the longest-tenured Grizzly, said when asked how he reacted after learning that Rose would be sidelined for the remainder of the year. “I don’t take injuries lightly at all. And for a guy like him with talent, it’s got to be frustrating. It’s tough. It’s got to be tough with him carrying so much on his shoulders. I mean, he’s carrying that franchise. He was expected to turn that franchise around and he’s done that, and because he can’t play because of his injury has got to be tough on him. We all feel for him, will pray for him, and hopefully he comes back healthy.”

The Grizzlies, who travel to Boston Wednesday night at 6:30 CST, will play the Bulls Dec. 30 in FedExForum. Memphis travels to play Chicago March 7.

Andre Johnson covers the NBA for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist

Comments

  1. Derrick Rose is a great player and I hate this injury occurred so soon after his highly anticipated return. Great article Andre.

  2. Ms. S. Lee says:

    Great story, Andre! You really captured Conley’s true essence of sportsmanship. Not everyone supports their opponent. You can tell Conley admires and respects Rose. And I love the bottom pic of Rose and Conley. Just because they play against each other doesn’t mean they have to be AGAINST each other, which Conley clearly demonstrates. Thanks for spotlighting the positive side of basketball.

  3. Very good story Andre! Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Great story I’m not a Rose fan. It kinda sounds like the writer is. Great piece of work. Conley is a true gentleman of the basketball world. He speaks great towards a rival competitor.

  5. At last, some love for the Pacers. I stayed up to watch my faoruvite team live untill 5 in the morning. Knicks fans forget that Pacers have been way better on their home court. I believe Indiana’s bench hurt them the most. I mean, they are not good by any means offensively, but Tyler didn’t crash the offensive boards, Pendergraph looked like an amateur on defense, with no energy, and Mahimi looked shocked to see things are different when you defend in the playoffs. Also, the show the Knicks put weighed heavily in the end.Just a curiosity, how do the people from US see Iman Schumpert? Is he somewhat of a star compared to the other NY guards or not? ( Fanbase wise)

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