Knicks C Enes Kanter will continue to play through his injuries as the team has no plans to shut him down.
Kanter didn't play in the fourth quarter or overtime in Tuesday night's win against the Lakers due to back and hip issues. However, that won't stop him from playing against the Nets Thursday night in Brooklyn.
"Mentally I'm good, real good. We got a real good win yesterday, so have to keep playing like that. Physically, I'm getting there. I'm over 40-50 percent," Kanter told the NY Daily News' Peter Botte. "I remember the year I got traded to OKC, we lost the playoff spot by a half-game. So, I mean, every game, every possession counts. I'll get rest in the summertime."
Kanter has done a great job as the man in the middle for the Knicks so far this season. He his averaging a double-double with 13.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. The Knicks can't afford to lose another starter in their rotation as Tim Hardaway Jr. is out indefinitely.
But based on his reactions, Kanter isn't worried he will miss games like his did in Novemeber due to back spasms. He also hurt his hip in a collision against the Bulls this past weekend.
"It's still bothering me even when I walk sometimes…but I think I'm fine," Kanter said on his hip. "I don't feel it as much. I don't need crutches anymore and stuff, feel ok."
Kanter may feel "ok," but head coach Jeff Hornacek knows that he is hurting just by watching him on the court.
"I don't know what he told you, but I've seen Enes," Hornacek said. "I saw him when he was a rookie, I saw him at the beginning of this year. The way he's running up and down the court right now, you can tell there's some back things going on. But he's a tough kid, he wants to play through it, he wants to help this team in any way he can. If that's 75 percent, that's what he wants to do."
Hornacek admitted that the Lakers playing small on Tuesday helped make his decision to bench Kanter easier. He wants to give his big man rest whenever he possibly can.
"The more rest we can give him, it's a long season," Hornacek said. "When he's flying up and down the court that's huge for us because now everybody has to suck back into the lane. Now we can get some kick-out threes. We need him healthy."
Hornacek hopes Kanter can simply "get through it," but it might not be that simple. Until then, the 25-year-old will continue to play through his ailments as they travel to Brooklyn to face a Nets team that has won four of their last six games.
"It's going to be a good game. Obviously, they're a pretty good team, they're in the 11th spot, I think, in the East," Kanter said. "I look at (the standings) a lot, of course. If you are like a team where we're just playing the season for nothing, I wouldn't care. But right now, we're playing for something, man. That's really important."