The knee brace wasn’t immediately visible beneath Iman Shumpert’s baggy shorts. The New York
Knicks guard stood poised in the middle of the gym where he starred at Oak Park-River Forest High School, matched up against a youngster attending his camp in an impromptu game of one-on-one. Shumpert shot long jumpers and hopped on his good knee while working up enough sweat to stain his shirt.
Derrick Rose hasn’t talked about tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee or undergoing surgery that is expected to take six to nine months to recover from, but another rising NBA star from the Chicago area can lend perspective. Shumpert suffered a similar injury to his same knee a few hours after Rose collapsed under the basket at the United Center on April 28.
“I was in a lot of pain,” Shumpert said. “When they finally told me [about Rose] for the first time, I smiled. It was weird. It wasn’t me smiling like I’m happy somebody else got hurt. It was just, what are the chances D-Rose gets hurt and 20 minutes later I get hurt?”
Bulls fans can only hope Rose is as mobile as Shumpert appeared 53 days after undergoing surgery. Shumpert had his ACL repaired 10 days before Rose because Bulls team physician Brian Cole wanted to let the swelling go down in Rose’s knee while having him do exercises that he hopes will allow him to recover faster.
Shumpert said he has begun to trust his knee again while walking up and down stairs. Of course, he was doing a lot more than that Sunday.
“I couldn’t be more happy with just being able to walk again,” Shumpert said while watching his camp’s coaches play campers while other campers cheered wildly. “Being on my back for six weeks was the toughest part. Now I’m starting to do stuff for myself during rehab. I’m back in the weight room. I can shoot in a seat. I can shoot standing in front of the rim and work on my form.”
Shumpert has been told it could take six to eight months for him to return to the court, but he said making a complete recovery is more important than any timetable.
“It will be based on how my leg reacts when I do more stuff, how I work out in practice,” the All-Rookie first-teamer said. “Right now, I’m just trying to get back in eight months. I’m not rushing to get back earlier. If I do, I do. If I don’t, I don’t. The most important thing is that I come back and help the Knicks. I don’t want to come back and be the same person I was last year. I want to come back and have added something to my game.”
Shumpert never got the chance to play Rose in high school and relished his team’s thrilling 100-99 overtime victory over the Bulls franchise he grew up rooting for on Easter Sunday. Shumpert said he hasn’t talked to Rose since he underwent surgery, but hopes to compare notes about how their rehabilitations are going the next time they meet.
They can talk about the pain and the irony of both players suffering such similar injuries on the same day.
“It felt like all of Chicago was calling me panicking,” Shumpert said. “I didn’t realize that when D-Rose got hurt a lot of people in Chicago said, ‘We’ve still got Iman. Iman is playing today.’ Then I get hurt and it was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ I just smiled. Tough luck. I know D-Rose is going to bounce back. I’m going to bounce back. Hopefully, we’ll both come back two times stronger.”
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