Jalen Brunson’s injury is now officially a concern.
It’s not a good sign for a player to miss two games and last just a half before he’s removed with a “sore foot,” the same injury that had Brunson on the status report for six straight days and counting. A confusing part of the pain, beyond the vague descriptions from Tom Thibodeau, is that Brunson moved and played well in Thursday night’s 122-117 loss to the Kings, dropping 19 points in just 19 minutes.
But he was also in clear discomfort and spotted limping to the locker room with trainer Anthony Goenaga. The Knicks are in the middle of a Western Conference trip with back-to-back games this weekend against the Clippers and Lakers.
“When you’re dealing with a bruised foot like that, it’ll feel great when you have a little time off — which Brunson has had,” TNT analyst Stan Van Gundy, a longtime coach who is close with Thibodeau, said during the broadcast. “But then when you’re back on it, pounding on it, it comes right back. And that could end up being a long-term thing. And the Knicks certainly want to avoid that. But at the same, they’re still in a fight for playoff position.”
Thibodeau, whose No. 5 Knicks are just a game above the No. 6 Nets in the East, provided another Brunson non-update to reporters after the game.
“He just reaggravated it, but I haven’t talked to the medical people yet,” the Knicks coach offered. “Just soreness. We’ve got to let the medical people do their job.”
Brunson has missed only six games this season but dealt with minor injuries while absorbing the largest workload — by far — of his NBA career. Two days before Brunson’s sore foot was first announced, he turned his ankle against the Miami Heat. He also missed three games in December with a sore hip. There can be a physical tax to being the lead guard — a role Brunson didn’t have in Dallas alongside Luka Doncic — and now, with a month remaining in the season, would be a bad time to pay up.
But it’s better than during the playoffs.
Thibodeau, meanwhile, has lauded New York’s depth and his squad recovered in Sacramento from a 16-point halftime deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter. But Brunson’s replacement at point guard, Immanuel Quickley, was ice cold (he shot 1-for-11) and the Knicks (39-29) ran out of gas for a second straight loss.
Their worst defensive possession occurred with about five minutes remaining, when Julius Randle and RJ Barrett stood as if touched in freeze tag as Sacramento’s Kevin Huerter drove into the lane and tipped in his own miss.
Thibodeau responded by benching Barrett, which was quickly followed by Sacramento’s game-breaking 9-0 run.
Facing the Clippers on Saturday afternoon — with or without Brunson — the Knicks are trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak since January.
Source: Berkshire mont
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