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Kemba Walker close to returning to Knicks from sore left knee

Kemba Walker #8 of the Knicks watches his

Kemba Walker #8 of the Knicks watches his team play against the Indiana Pacers during the second half at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Monday marked the sixth straight game that Kemba Walker was sidelined by what the team has called a sore left knee. But Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said he is getting closer to returning.

Asked if it was healing or conditioning that was holding him out this long, Thibodeau said, "Probably a little bit of both. Each day he’s doing a little bit more. The main thing was letting his knee calm down. It’s done that and now ramping it up again. That’s where he is. He’s close though."

Nerlens Noel was sidelined for the 10th straight game. Noel, who has played just 17 games this season, was sidelined with the NBA’s health and safety protocols following the Dec. 21 game and has been cleared, but remains out while working on his conditioning.

Ryan Arcidiacono, who was signed to a 10-day contract Thursday, has yet to suit up as he rehabilitates from an ankle injury suffered in the G League.

"He’s going through his little rehab," Thibodeau said. "He’s moving around pretty good as well now."

Lesson learned

The Spurs were on the second half of a back-to-back set in New York, losing in overtime in Brooklyn Sunday. The game ended with the Nets winning on a Cam Thomas bucket in the final seconds of overtime and with that, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich saw good and bad.

"It’s a mistake and it’s not a mistake," he said. "The best thing you can do at the end of the game is not have Kevin Durant shoot the shot and that was accomplished. So I’m thrilled with what they did. After that there was a closeout by another player where we allowed middle. That was a mistake. It’s a game of mistakes. That’s why the scores are not 8-6. Those kind of mistakes you just hope happen less and less as the season goes on. The tough part of this season for everybody, especially the young teams, no practices, no shootarounds."

New York Sports