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Knicks are negative for COVID-19 after completing positive trip

Tom Thibodeau the head coach of the New

Tom Thibodeau the head coach of the New York Knicks gives instructions to his team against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on January 02, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Credit: Getty Images/Andy Lyons

The Knicks completed their first extended road trip Monday, a four-game, four-city, eight-night journey that brought them into states with much less restrictive COVID rules. They now head home with a belief in their protocols and their fingers crossed.

"Dr. [Lisa] Callahan and Roger [Hinds] and Anthony [Goenaga, the trainers] are just leading the charge and following all the protocols," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Obviously, safety has to come first and it is a challenge for everyone. [Equipment manager] Mike Martinez — I don’t know how he does it. But it’s important to follow the protocols. We’re concerned about everything. Hopefully we can be as safe as possible, but everything is concerning."

While Thibodeau is happy to head home, he did take something from the trip.

"In some ways, I liked our schedule," he said. "When you look at it, we played tough teams and spent quite a bit of time on the road. It was almost like going away for training camp. You try to take the positives out of that, with the team meals, the film sessions. Being around each other as much as we are, that’s been very productive for us — individual film sessions, that sort of thing. Obviously, we prefer to be home. It’s a balanced schedule. At some point it will flip."

Injury updates

Thibodeau said Alec Burks is the closest to returning after missing three games with a sprained left ankle. Frank Ntilikina, Obi Toppin, Dennis Smith Jr. and Omari Spellman have been sidelined, too. Nerlens Noel was a late scratch with an ankle sprain suffered Saturday that he thought he’d be able to play through.

"They were doing a little bit but not a whole lot," Thibodeau said. "Alec is probably the closest. All of the players will be examined when we get back, so hopefully we’ll have a further update for you."

Toppin, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, has not played since the season opener on Dec. 23.

New York Sports