According to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, Rose's teammates and close associates as well as Knicks officials were unaware of the reason for his absence. New York had initially listed him as the starting point guard before elevating Jennings.
Wojnarowski added the Knicks had not been in contact with Rose by the time the game tipped off, and it was unclear if they spoke with him during the game.
Rose informed the team he had a family situation, according to ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne, who added Rose left the team without permission but had been in contact with Knicks officials. Rose spoke with Knicks general manager Steve Mills, per Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Rose returned to the team Tuesday and was spotted talking to Mills at the team's facility, per Ian Begley of ESPN, who noted the point guard appeared to be in "good spirits." The Knicks later shared a photo of Rose on the court for Tuesday's practice:
Practice https://t.co/IAtoGBc2jR2017-1-10 18:05:59
Upon his return, the team announced Tuesday it had fined Rose and that he is expected to play Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers, per Begley.
After practice, Rose reiterated his absence was due to a family matter and was not related to basketball, per Begley.
On Tuesday, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that "being away from his son more is weighing very heavily on him" but noted he was told that "this isn't all of it." Rose had attended the Knicks' morning shootaround Monday, per Isola.
Isola reported on Tuesday that the situation with Rose led the point guard to consider giving up basketball:
Rose, according to two independent sources who spoke to the Daily News on the condition of anonymity, was such an emotional wreck Monday afternoon that his only solution was to abruptly leave the Knicks to be with his mother and his son.
In fact, Rose's state of mind was such that for a brief time he talked about walking away from basketball for an extended period of time to clear his mind. That seems hard to believe since Rose is only 28 years old and could land a lucrative free agent contract this summer, something he talked about two years ago.
Wojnarowski expanded on Rose's relationship with Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek, which has been increasingly volatile of late:
Rose has been increasingly frustrated with how this Knicks season has unfolded, culminating with him privately fuming over his diminished late-game role in Friday night's victory in Milwaukee, sources said. Hornacek played undrafted rookie Ron Baker over Rose in the fourth quarter.
Rose has been privately critical of Hornacek, but no one in the locker room – or management – has expressed any issues with how Hornacek has coached Rose, league sources said.
Wojnarowski also noted, "Rose has put into peril his short-term role—with the possibility of a suspension, sources said—and the longer-term chances to land a lucrative contract extension with the Knicks in July."
Rose's unexplained absence was the beginning of a rough night for New York, as Beck noted:
Howard Beck @HowardBeck
Knicks summary: Derrick Rose: M.I.A. Carmelo Anthony: ejected Kyle O'Quinn: ejected Deficit: 24 points2017-1-10 02:11:42
The 17-21 Knicks are playing better than they did a year ago. The team is now 2.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Charlotte Hornets, but New York hasn't been the disaster some predicted after it acquired Rose and Noah in the offseason.
Most fans have abandoned any hope that Rose will rediscover his MVP form, but the three-time All-Star has had an encouraging campaign. He's averaging 17.3 points and 4.5 assists per game and has appeared in 33 of the Knicks' 38 games entering Wednesday.