Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Dennis Smith Jr. says he's ahead of schedule in his rehab from an oblique injury, but there's no definitive timetable for his return.
"I'm actually healing faster (than projections). I heard people say with the oblique strain it could be two months or however long, so I'm actually healing along pretty fast," Smith Jr. said on Sunday. "I'm going through the process and working at it every day."
Smith Jr. has missed nine consecutive games with the ailment. He's been limited in contact portions of practice. He's been listed as questionable for several games but ultimately ruled out.
Smith Jr. suffered the injury -- which is common among baseball players -- while throwing a pass across his body. The injury has limited his movement.
"Moves that are necessary for me to play the way that I play," Smith Jr. said. "I still feel some pain with those moves, so we are trying to work through that right now. Going through it, doing my treatment every day, them knowing when to pull me out and things of that nature."
On a potential timetable for return, Smith Jr. said, "It's in the air. We're just looking at it right now like I'm making progress. They said I'm recovering faster than normal from it. It's a good thing."
Smith Jr. missed nearly two weeks during the season due to the death of his stepmother. He's averaging 5.2 points and 2.7 assists in 16 minutes per game. The point guard is shooting 32.5 percent from the floor.
He's one of several Knicks opposing teams have expressed interest in trading for. Minnesota is among the teams that has expressed interest in dealing for Smith Jr, per sources.
SPOELSTRA SAYS FIZ FIRING 'A SHAME'
Erik Spoelstra reiterated that he thinks the Knicks' front office didn't give David Fizdale the proper support during his tenure. Fizdale, who worked alongside Spoelstra in Miami and later coached on his staff, was fired amid the Knicks' 4-18 start.
"I just think it's a shame. I think it takes a long time to build culture and they hired him for a reason," Spoelstra said before Sunday's Heat-Knicks game, echoing comments he made when the Knicks played in Miami."
"And (building a culture is) not going to happen overnight. I think he's just a brilliant basketball mind and teacher of the game. It's just unfortunate. I look at it all the time and compare it to our situation where we have incredible stability."
"I get these statistics all the time. And people ask me how do you feel? You're in your 12th year. And so and so, or this organization has gone through 10-plus coaches in that period of time. It's a tough indictment on our professional."
"I think there's starting to be a little bit more value in understanding that it's a long game around the league. You're seeing more extensions earlier on and somebody, before you get to your final year, you're starting to see that league wide. Even Mike Malone got back-to-back extensions and he's doing a tremendous job there. It's not easy. You need support. You need stability from above."
"That's the most important thing, is your ownership and management. And we haven't, and we're the gold standard in that regard. And that doesn't take away anything from (Knicks interim) coach (Mike) Miller at all. I think his path is pretty inspiring as well. But yes I do talk to Dave quite a bit. He's always a glass-half full (guy). He'll be fine."