Derrick Rose vanishes 40 minutes before huge game due to ‘family issue’

By JAMES WILKINSON FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

New York Knicks star Derrick Rose went AWOL 40 minutes before the start of Monday’s game because of a ‘family issue’ back home in Chicago, sources have said.

The star $23m point guard sparked panic when his mysterious disappearance left teammates praying and the Knicks even sent someone to check on his apartment.

Rose, 28, who had been at the shootaround that morning, eventually let friends know he was ‘ok’ in texts with coach Jeff Hornacek saying ‘everything will become clear later on’.

After a trying year during which Rose was cleared in October of raping a woman who was suing him for $21.5m, his teammate Joakim Noah said it was a relief he was ok.

Vanished: Derrick Rose (pictured Friday) disappeared before Monday's game.  Joakim Noah said the player was 'OK' later on but gave no other details

‘I mean, I don’t really want to talk too much about it because I don’t really know what the situation is,’ said Noah to ESPN after the sports network reported he has a family issue.

After the Knicks lost 110-96 to the Pelicans, Coach Hornacek said that Rose was expected back, however, it was ‘just a matter of time’.

‘Right now we don’t have enough information to really give you anything,’ said Hornacek.

‘So that’s just going to have to wait until we hear something from Derrick himself. Other than that, if you want to talk about the game, ask away.’

Waiting: Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said he would 'have to wait until we hear something from Derrick himself' adding that it was 'just a matter of time'

Rose, 28, who had been at the shootaround that morning, failed to turn up for the game against the Pelicans, which the New York team lost 110-96.

Team officials were unable to contact Rose by phone, and his closest friends didn’t say where he was, sources told The Vertical.

Teammate Joakim Noah told ESPN that he had spoken to Rose and that the player is ‘OK’ but declined to say anything else.

And Rose has reportedly texted friends to confirm that he is safe – but didn’t add any other details.

The vanishing act of one of the team’s key players has left other Knicks shaken.

Courtney Lee told the channel that ‘As a teammate, I’m just praying that everything is alright with him.’

And Brandon Jennings told press: ‘I found out 40 minutes before the game started so I just don’t know anything.’

He added that he was ‘Definitely concerned. Definitely a situation I’ve never been in, so I just hope everything is alright. He’s a big part of this team.’

Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said nothing to the media about Rose at a press conference two hours before the game began.

In a post-game interview he said they had ‘no information’ on his status, and that the press would ‘have to wait until we hear something from Derrick himself’.

He chuckled as he was asked if they expected the player to return. ‘Sure,’ he said, ‘it’s just a matter of time.’

Benched: Rose (pictured in October) was reportedly upset about being benched in the last quarter of Friday's game, but it's not known if this influenced his absence

The reason for Rose’s disappearance has led to speculation that the player – who was benched in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game against the Bucks on Friday – was angry at management.

‘As you’d expect, sources say Rose was unhappy with fourth quarter benching on Friday in Milwaukee,’ tweeted Vertical editor Adrian Wojnarowski, ‘but unclear if that’s impacted absence.’

This season has seen Rose has averaging 17.3 points, 4.5 assists and 3.9 rebounds over 33 games.

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