WASHINGTON — With practice complete, Kevin Knox took the floor at Georgetown University, joining a handful of players and coaches for a three-on-three contest, the first real test as he rehabilitates his left ankle.
Knox, who suffered a sprained ankle in the Knicks’ third game of the season, took on this limited game action for the first time and came out of it feeling close to a return.
“It felt good. I’ve been progressing this whole time, trying to get to this moment,” said Knox, who immediately went from the workout to the training area, where he had the ankle wrapped with a neoprene sleeve and underwent electric stimulation. “I talked to the training staff. I felt pretty comfortable coming out here and playing, get up and down a little bit. We’re doing a lot of conditioning, trying to stay in shape. It felt good to be out there and finally play and compete.”
Knox won’t be on the court with the team Sunday evening when the Knicks take on the struggling Wizards, but he can see a light again after sitting out two weeks.
“It’s a little sore, but it’s going to be sore pretty much the rest of the season coming off an ankle injury,” he said. “I felt good out there playing. Didn’t feel no pain or anything, just sore. I’m getting real close. Not [Sunday]. Probably a game-time decision on Monday — maybe, I don’t know yet. We’ll see. I’m going to keep progressing, make sure I stay in shape and keep getting my body ready.”
The team is trying to be cautious with the 19-year-old rookie, and coach David Fizdale hinted that he’d like to see more steps taken before putting him into a game.
“We’re going to bring him step by step, try to get him there,” Fizdale said. “And then eventually when we do a five-on-five practice, after we get that under his belt, then he’ll play.”
In his absence, the Knicks have had plenty of other young players step up. Fellow rookie Mitchell Robinson moved into the starting lineup along with second-year guard Frank Ntilikina, and undrafted rookie Allonzo Trier has been getting steady minutes off the bench.
Knox was a starter throughout preseason but went to the bench for the first few games before the injury. He said he doesn’t need a starting role on his return and is just anxious to get back into the action.
“Yeah, man, he gives a lot of confidence to us young guys,” Knox said of Fizdale. “Mitchell is starting to get it now, defensively and offensively. Frank is playing a lot more aggressive. Zo is playing aggressive. Just getting the young guys a chance. I’m really looking forward to getting back there on the court. I know Fiz has a lot of confidence in me, so I’m just ready to go out there and start playing with my guys again.
“Like I said, Fiz has a lot of confidence, so he’s going to let us get out and play how we play. Not a lot of rookies have that kind of style, freestyle to just go out and play your game. That’s why I really applaud Fiz letting us play our game, get out there and play some minutes. Not a lot of rookies are getting a lot of minutes. We’re going to keep working hard. Mitch is starting to get it. Allonzo is doing what Allonzo does . . . I can’t wait to get back out there and get my confidence back.”