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How the Knicks' Marcus Morris injured his neck and missed two games

Knicks forward Marcus Morris Sr. against the Brooklyn

Knicks forward Marcus Morris Sr. against the Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 24, 2019. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — From the big to the small to the downright weird, everything that could go wrong for the Knicks this season has.

The Knicks are on a seven-game losing streak. They're battling the Golden State Warriors for the worst record in the NBA and played their last two games without Marcus Morris, their leading scorer.

Morris, who expects to play Thursday against Denver, revealed after practice Wednesday that the neck injury that kept him out of losses to Boston and Milwaukee  occurred when his 1-year-old son jumped on him in bed to wake him up.

"He’s very big for a 1-year-old. He’s huge man,” Morris said. “Every morning he comes in the room and jumps on me and that stuff. I just got a bad batch of it that morning.”

Morris said the injury happened Friday morning and then was aggravated that night when he played a physical game against the 76ers. Though he is listed as questionable for Thursday, he said he is feeling fine and expects to play.

That is good news for the Knicks, who certainly could use some after their 132-88 loss to the Bucks on Monday night in Milwaukee. It is possible that for the first time since the second week of the season, the Knicks could have a completely healthy squad for the Denver game.

Elfrid Payton, who has been out since the fourth game of the season with a strained right hamstring, practiced Wednesday. He is listed as questionable, but coach David Fizdale said he is likely to play. Frank Ntilikina (sore upper back) did not practice and is listed as questionable.

"Hopefully, this will be the first time since the third game of the season that we will have everybody,” Fizdale said.

The Knicks will need all the help they can get against the Nuggets. Denver (13-5) had won six straight games before losing consecutive games to Sacramento and the Lakers.

Fizdale, who was basically put on notice by management after the Knicks opened 2-8, now leads the team into one of their most brutal stretches in the schedule. After hosting Denver and a tough Indiana team on Saturday, the Knicks head into a four-game West Coast trip that includes games against Carmelo Anthony and Portland, Golden State, Sacramento and Denver.

Fizdale was asked Wednesday that if with all the losing he thought the players were tuning him out.

"No, these dudes hear me,” Fizdale said. “We’ve got a great group. We have a collection of character . . . When you’ve got a bad group of guys that’s going their separate ways, you don’t have that type of stuff going on. I’ve been a part of teams like that before, everybody runs out of the gym as soon as the whistle blows and everybody goes their separate ways. But we have none of that going on.”

Five of the Knicks’ last seven losses have been winnable games where they fell apart in the fourth quarter. Morris believes they just need to find a way to close teams out.

“In the last five minutes, we get tight," Morris said. "We’re kind of like, ‘We don’t want to lose this one. We don’t want to lose this one.’ We can’t be that way.”

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