The Knicks announced that an MRI on Danilo Gallinari's left knee confirmed the initial diagnosis of a sprain. The scheduled recovery time is two to three weeks, which means the Knicks will lose their starting small forward, who is averaging 15.3 points per game, for at least six games and possibly as many as 11.
Gallinari injured the knee with 6:14 left in Sunday's win over the Pacers, when Indiana guard Brandon Rush fell into him. Gallinari had to be helped off the court, but was walking under his own power after the game and said he mainly felt "discomfort." The team medical staff told him it was a Grade 1 sprain.
The Knicks play the Spurs at the Garden on Tuesday and Mike D'Antoni already said that center Ronny Turiaf would likely move back into the starting lineup to replace Gallinari, with Amar'e Stoudemire moving back to the power forward position and Wilson Chandler sliding up to small forward.
The question now is what D'Antoni will do with the open spot in his rotation. D'Antoni has fluctuated between an eight- and nine-man rotation, with Bill Walker getting minutes recently. With Chandler moving into the three spot, does that open up an opportunity for Anthony Randolph to come in off the bench as an extra big?
After playing the Spurs, the Knicks play seven of their next nine games on the road.
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* - Landry Fields was named NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for December. It was his second straight Rookie of the Month award, which makes him the first Knick to earn multiple R.O.M. honors since Mark Jackson, who won three in 1987-88, when he was named the Rookie of the Year.
Fields ranked second in scoring among rookies (8.8 points per game) and third in rebounding (7.9) and led all rookies in steals (1.23) in 13 starts for the Knicks during the month. He scored in double figures six times and had five games with 10 or more rebounds.
He played a season-low 13 minutes in Sunday's win over the Pacers, but still managed 10 points and five rebounds.
Fields has turned out to be an outstanding second round pick for the Knicks and this recognition is noteworthy, though it needs to be pointed out that the number one overall pick, John Wall, has been injury plagued so far this season. Wall played in just nine games with the Wizards in December and averaged 13.7 points per game.
But Fields' chances to become the first Rookie of the Year the Knicks have had since Jackson are slim mainly because of the two-time Western Conference Rookie of the Month, Blake Griffin. The Clippers power forward is not a true rookie, however, but more of a "redshirt rookie" because he missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury.