Derrick Rose has confirmed he contracted Covid-19 and suffered symptoms "10 times" worse than the flu prior to re-joining the New York Knicks on Monday.
The 2010-11 MVP hasn't played for the Knicks since February 28, after which he entered the league's health and safety protocol.
The Knicks shared little detail of Rose's condition during his absence, but the 32-year-old has now confirmed he faced a challenging period with the illness.
"The Covid thing, I know a lot of people overlook it but it's very serious. It's real," Rose told reporters on Monday.
"I've had the flu. It's nothing like the flu. ... It was that times 10."
Rose is averaging 12.5 points and 4.9 assists in 10 games (three starts) with New York since being acquired in a trade with the Detroit Pistons last month.
The Knicks announced have confirmed that Rose is now out of the NBA's health and safety protocols, but the point guard has to regain his strength and fitness before he can return to competition.
"He has to go through conditioning and once he's ready to go we'll move forward with it. But he's been out for a while now so he's just starting to ramp it up again and we'll see how it goes," Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said.
Rose missed his first game on March 2 at San Antonio. He said he became ill the next day and wasn't even able to exercise while in quarantine at home.
The Knicks, who are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference standings, have gone 7-3 when Rose plays, winning the final three games when he was in the starting line-up.
"Getting back and playing in rhythm and trying to get myself back to where I was is going to take some time," Rose said. "But every day I'm getting the most out of all my days so that's all I can do."
Rose, the top pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, is averaging 18.6 points and 5.5 assists in 621 career games (507 starts) with the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Pistons and Knicks.