Sunday, April 14 2024
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The New York Knicks have lost just about everyone to injury at some point this season. Starters Julius Randle, OG Anunoby and Mitchell Robinson are all currently out. Most of New York’s reserves have missed time as well. The only thing holding them together lately has been the stellar play of first-time All-Star Jalen Brunson, but even he isn’t impervious to this injury wave.

Less than 1 minute into Sunday night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Knicks’ star player went down. Brunson came off of a screen to take his first shot of the game but landed awkwardly and collapsed to the floor. He was helped into the locker room from there, clearly in immense pain.

Brunson appeared to have made no contact with another player in the process of falling. 

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game that Brunson has a left knee contusion and that X-rays were negative. The Knicks initially called the injury knee soreness when Brunson was declared questionable to return in the second quarter, but he was ultimately ruled out in the third.

Still, that didn’t stop the Knicks from pulling off one of the most impressive wins of their season. Despite playing all but 47 seconds without their three leading scorers and two best defenders, New York rode a 28-point performance from Donte DiVincenzo and strong defense across the board to a 107-98 victory on the road in Cleveland. 

The win could potentially have significant playoff implications. A loss would have dropped the Knicks to 5.5 games behind the No. 3 seeded Cavaliers and into a tie for No. 6 with the Orlando Magic. Instead, the Knicks retain their current hold on the No. 4 seed and gain meaningful ground on Cleveland in their pursuit of a top-three seed. Of course, they’ll need a healthy Brunson to get there.

Brunson has been more than just the catalyst behind New York’s strong season. He has been among the best guards in the NBA, averaging career high in both points (27.7 per game) and assists (6.7) while guiding a No. 9-ranked Knicks offense that has needed to make due with just about every other player of note on the roster at some point this season. 

Brunson, who entered Sunday having played in 56 of New York’s 60 games, had been the lone constant. That has largely held true throughout his NBA career as he missed only seven games in final two years as a Maverick and just 14 last season in his debut with the Knicks.

All things considered, a knee contusion is a relatively positive outcome for the Knicks considering how bad non-contact knee injuries can be. Any long-term injury to Brunson would effectively end the Knicks’ hopes of a long playoff run, but contusions can be managed much more easily. The initial prognosis appears better than the injury looked on first glance, but the Knicks won’t feel safe until Brunson is back on the floor.

Source: CBSSports.com

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