GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Oh no. Not again.
That was the collective thought at Madison Square Garden on Sunday when rookie Kevin Knox was helped off the court in the first half after landing awkwardly on Patrick Beverly’s foot following a three-point attempt.
It turns out that the injury was not as bad as fans had feared when he didn’t return for the second half of what ended up being a 124-113 loss to the Clippers.
Knox was back on the court with his teammates for an abbreviated practice on Tuesday and the 19-year-old could be available for Thursday’s game against the Toronto Raptors.
“That’s just one of those scary plays when he lands on someone’s foot, so you don’t know how it’s going to go,” coach David Fizdale said. “Luckily it wasn’t toe down and roll. It was more his heel hit the floor and rolled so it wasn’t as severe . . . We’re hopeful for [Thursday’s] game, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.”
Knox sprained his left ankle against the Celtics in the third game of the season and missed seven contests. He said after practice on Tuesday that this injury wasn’t nearly as bad. In fact, he tried to get ready to play the second half, but found he couldn’t put pressure on the ankle like he wanted or move it from side to side.
"I couldn’t go out there in the second half and play at a high level like my team needed me, so I just wanted to shut it down,” said Knox, who had 11 points in the first half.
Knox, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 draft, appears to be just starting to find his offensive rhythm as he has been thrust into the role of the Knicks' go-to scorer. Knox is averaging 17.6 points while shooting 44.8 percent from three-point range over his last five games. On the season, Knox is averaging 12.6 points while shooting 34.9 percent from downtown.
“He’s been having a good month. You know, if you really look at his numbers over the course of a month, he’s starting to play good basketball," Fizdale said. "He’s shooting the three better, his field-goal percentage is better, his turnovers are down.”
The Knicks did not have such good news concerning the status of Frank Ntilikina, another lottery pick.
Ntilikina did not play in the second half of Sunday’s game because of a sore groin, and he did not practice Tuesday. Ntilikina missed 24 games with the same injury before returning to play on Friday.
When asked if Ntilikina would play again this season, Fizdale said he didn't have a definitive answer.
"We don’t know yet on the status of how far away he is from coming back," Fizdale said. "I know it was a tough blow to the kid the other night.
“I think it’s the same thing, the groin area, I just don’t know how severe it is. I just know that it got to a point during the game where it was really bothering him. It’s just been frustrating for the kid. It’s been frustrating for all of us, but for him it’s been tough.”