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Dennis Smith Jr. remains sidelined with quadriceps contusion

Pistons guard Saben Lee attempts a layup as

Pistons guard Saben Lee attempts a layup as Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. defends during the second half of an NBA preseason game on Dec. 11 in Detroit. Credit: AP/Carlos Osorio

Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. remains sidelined, and it doesn't seem as if he’ll be back in action soon.

Smith flew to Tampa on Thursday to be with the team, but coach Tom Thibodeau said he could be out a while with the quadriceps contusion he suffered in the second game of the season.

"The medical people thought it would be better to keep him back for a day or two," Thibodeau said. "He had some soreness they felt could be better handled there. And we knew it was a short-term thing. So he’s en route now and he’ll join us shortly. But he’ll still be out for a while.

"I think more day-to-day. It’s a contusion that’s pretty deep. So once he’s ready to go, there’s the conditioning part of it, which is important. So we have to get him back into practice and work on that as well.''

Home away from home

Thibodeau said it was odd to be playing the Raptors in Tampa, but he noted that the staff at Amalie Arena has made efforts to make it seem like Toronto. The court was adorned in Raptors logos and the ''We The North'' slogan was in place along the sideline, but now in 30 languages.

"It is different to be here," Thibodeau said. "Everyone, they’ve made the best of a tough situation. I think it’s probably the smart thing to do. When you come in, the ushers, everyone, is welcoming you to Toronto. There’s a little humor added to it, which makes it a little bit better.

"I’m sure for them it’s hard. It’s a team that gets great support, as most NBA teams do in their hometown. Them being away from home, I’m sure they would prefer to be in Toronto. Tampa’s a beautiful city. The people have been wonderful. So we’re fortunate they were willing to take them in."

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