Hopefully none of you New York Knicks fans out there are expecting to see Tim Hardaway Jr. suit up anytime soon.
Because it doesn’t sound like it’s happening.
As relayed to us courtesy of Newsday‘s Barbara Barker, neither the Knicks nor Hardaway himself have a timetable for his return from a left leg injury:
Tim Hardaway spoke before game. No timetable for his return , he said. Will be evaluated next week.
— Barbara Barker (@meanbarb) December 14, 2017
This sounds fairly ominous, if only because Hardaway’s injury itself is an ominous one. The Knicks have classified it as a stress reaction in his lower left leg, an ailment that can often end up sidelining players for an extended period of time.
Hardaway has now missed each of the team’s past seven games following Thursday’s tilt with the Brooklyn Nets, and from the looks of things, with him being evaluated sometime next week, that number could climb past 15 and closer to 20 or 25. Of course, this all depends on how he checks out next week. Chances are, though, he won’t just be instantly cleared for duty. The Knicks will want him to practice once or twice before throwing him back into the fray, and again, these stress reactions are never cut and dry.
In the meantime, the Knicks will survive. Hardaway is piecing together a nice season, but this squad is dependent on only one player: Kristaps Porzingis. Sure, the Knicks’ net rating has declined in Hardaway’s absence. But they were due for a drop anyway. Their hot start was buoyed predominantly by a home-heavy schedule and unsustainable crunch-time play. They were always going to fall back down to earth—and they’re not even technically back on solid ground just yet.
Assuming their goal is to make the playoffs, though, they’ll be just fine. Hardaway’s absence won’t make or break them so long as Porzingis is healthy. The Knicks have Courtney Lee and Frank Ntilikina to help out on the wings, while the offense has been sensational whenever Jarret Jack plays.