The Knicks' Frank Ntilikina warms up before an NBA game...

The Knicks' Frank Ntilikina warms up before an NBA game against the Cavaliers on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, at Madison Square Garden. Credit: AP/Elsa

The Knicks announced that Frank Ntilikina is out for Tuesday’s game against Miami because of health and safety protocols. According to a source, Ntilikina did not test positive for COVID-19 but was subject to contact tracing after being within close proximity of someone with a positive test outside of the Knicks organization.

This marked the first time a Knicks player has been sidelined because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols. No other Knicks are believed to have been exposed and subject to contact tracing in the league’s COVID protocols. A timetable for Ntilikina’s shutdown has not been determined yet.

Ntilikina has not played since Dec. 29 when he suffered a sprained right knee in the Knicks' fourth game of the season. He had played limited minutes to that point, getting into the final minutes of blowout losses in the first two games. He then converted all four of his three-point field-goal attempts in the third game of the season and was inserted into the game early at Cleveland before the injury shut him down.

He was inactive until Jan. 24, but in the eight games since being back in uniform he has yet to get into a game, stuck deep on the bench behind starting point guard Elfrid Payton and rookie Immanuel Quickley, with Derrick Rose arriving now to take minutes, too. While Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau has praised Ntilikina’s versatility (and used him off the ball in his limited minutes), the Knicks are crowded there, too, with RJ Barrett and wing players Alec Burks, Austin Rivers and Reggie Bullock.

Ntilikina is in the final year of his rookie contract and will become a free agent at season’s end.