Knicks' Andrea Bargnani, right, shoots on Toronto Raptors' Amir Johnson...

Knicks' Andrea Bargnani, right, shoots on Toronto Raptors' Amir Johnson during the first half. (Dec. 28, 2013) Credit: AP

Just as Andrea Bargnani seemed to be on the verge of making his regular-season debut, he is out again -- with no set timetable for a return.

The 7-footer, out since the Knicks' preseason opener with a right hamstring injury, suffered a strained right calf during Friday's practice, according to the Knicks. They said an MRI revealed the diagnosis.

Bargnani did not make himself available to reporters before Saturday night's game.

Coach Derek Fisher said Saturday that he "can't predict how long'' Bargnani will be out with this latest injury. But it could be a while, considering point guard Jose Calderon missed nearly five weeks with the same injury before making his season debut Saturday night.

"It's unfortunate,'' Fisher said. "We were looking forward to getting him a step closer to having him back.''

Bargnani began the preseason penciled in as the Knicks' starting power forward, and the team was optimistic that he would flourish in the triangle offense because he's a big man who has range on his outside shot.

But injuries have put those preseason plans on hold, which has been a consistent theme during Bargnani's two seasons with the Knicks. Acquired from the Toronto Raptors two summers ago, Bargnani played in only 42 games last season because of a torn elbow ligament.

"He's experienced a lot with injuries in recent months,'' Fisher said. "For a guy in a career that only lasts so long, to not get a chance to be out there more I'm sure is frustrating for him.''

Fisher said he didn't see Bargnani suffer the calf injury during Friday's practice. He speculated that it might have been a result of Bargnani's calf compensating for the earlier hamstring injury.

"I think it just speaks to the importance to guys being able to have some practice time so that you really find out whether or not they're ready to perform in the game,'' Fisher said. "We just have to remain patient.''


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