If the Knicks and their fans were not panicking after losing their 3rd game in a row (to the Al Jefferson-less Charlotte Bobcats), they certainly are now.
ESPN’s Ian Begley reports that New York center, Tyson Chandler, will miss 4-6 weeks with a non-displaced fracture of his right fibula.
The injury took place during a collision with Kemba Walker in the first quarter. Chandler left the court and was ruled out for the rest of the game.
The injury could not come at a worse time for the Knicks. They are struggling with lineups and chemistry, especially in their front court with the combination of Chandler, Carmelo Anthony, and new acquisition, Andrea Bargnani.
Now they will be without one of the premier defensive big men in the league. With Chandler out and never really recovering through the postseason last year, the Knicks were no match for the Pacers in the playoffs. Now without him for an extended period of time to start the regular season, the alarms might be going off at MSG.
New York has suspect depth behind Chandler. Amare Stoudemire is currently limited to 10 minutes a game and has looked nothing like the Amare of yesteryear. Kenyon Martin too, cannot be depended to play big minutes on a daily basis. Reserve Cole Aldrich figures to pick up some minutes here, but he is far from an answer as well. The Knicks could cut 15th man Chris Smith and add more size, but Jeremy Tyler, who was part of the training camp team, has yet to recover from injury himself.
So the Knicks will have to go small and will be looking more forward than ever to JR Smith’s return from suspension this weekend. Now devoid of their best defensive option on a below-average defensive team, the Knicks will have to outscore their opponents more than ever.
Without Smith, the Knicks currently rank towards the bottom of NBA in scoring – with 92.0 points per game – only 26th in the league.
Things are going to have to change in a hurry at The Garden, or this could be a very long and painful 4-6 weeks without Chandler.