Quentin Grimes #6 of the Knicks lays up a basket during...

Quentin Grimes #6 of the Knicks lays up a basket during the second quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Madison Square Garden on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022 in New York City. Credit: Jim McIsaac

DENVER —  Although it may have seemed inevitable that Evan Fournier would lose playing time, seeing Quentin Grimes also left out of the rotation seemed odd, given that Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau has constantly praised the second-year wing.

“He let me know, he wanted to shorten the rotation, get a feel for some of the guys to get in that rhythm,” Grimes said before Wednesday night’s game against the Nuggets. “Just trying to be supportive. I know that he's trying to do what he feels is the best for the team so we can go out there and win games. I'm trying to do what I can, too.”

Grimes has been battling through a left foot injury that has limited him since the start of training camp. He made his season debut in the sixth game of the season and got his first start in the seventh game — but came up with pain again and was shut down. He said he’s healthy now other than game-level conditioning.

“For the most part, just getting that game reps as much as I can,” Grimes said. "Trying to get back there. It's really just hard to simulate game speed. That's the biggest thing.

“It's tough, just coming in over the summer everything that was going on. I had high expectations for myself as well. Just hard to find your rhythm is really the biggest part.”

Thibodeau said there was no plan to have him get playing time in the G League to better acclimate to game conditions, noting, “I think him being here with us is the best thing right now."

Making most of minutes

While the attention has been on the rotation moves in the backcourt, Jericho Sims got an opportunity with early foul trouble for Isaiah Hartenstein Tuesday and he delivered, contributing 11 points and 13 rebounds in 24 minutes.

“I think he earned his time last year, played really well the second half of last season,” Thibodeau said. “Came in, spent a lot of time here this summer, ready to go. We threw him in in the Minnesota game; played terrific. So, getting a lot better each and everyday. Puts a lot into it. High energy. Very athletic. So, I think he’ll continue to grow.”

“I love playing with Jericho,” Immanuel Quickley said. “He brings a different dimension that I think a lot of players in the league. He's really athletic. He’s really good on defense, offensive rebounds. He brings a really good dynamic to this team.”

No Joker

One thing that Sims did not have to contend with was Nikola Jokic, who entered the NBA's health and safety protocols Tuesday. The Nuggets were also without Aaron Gordon.