Derrick Rose
via Erik Drost / CC-BY-2.0

Before Thanksgiving, Derrick Rose took a leave of absence from the Cavaliers to contemplate his future in the NBA. At the time, he told sources that he was tired “being hurt and it’s taking a toll on him mentally”.

Since then, Rose has returned to the team, but hasn’t offered much of an explanation about his decision to return and why he left in the first place.

This week, however, the former MVP sat down for a lengthy interview with The Undefeated and opened up about his decision.

Rose made sure to clarify to his fans that he’s “not depressed”, and explained that his numerous injuries — and the effort he’s put into each rehab stint — have motivated him to continue playing.

“People forget that my first injury was my ACL. A lot of guys would have walked away after that,” he said. “I already had my contract and all that taken care of, so a lot of guys would have walked away after that. I’ve had five surgeries, and I had an eye [socket] fracture. I’m too far in to just walk away.”

“I’m in love with the game,” Rose continued. “The love of the game. I still am a winner. I still love learning the game. Where else can you learn more than from Golden State or [Cleveland]? LeBron has been to eight Finals eight times and seven straight years. I played against him a lot of times. I’ve learned so much from him and the whole team. It’s just a fun experience being around this team.”

Head over to The Undefeated to read Rose’s full interview.