Knicks second-year guard Frank Ntilikina is improving from a groin injury that has kept him out since January and will be re-evaluated once New York returns from its three-game road trip, the team announced.
Ntilikina, who last played Jan. 27, has missed the Knicks' last 18 games entering Sunday's matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Knicks expect Ntilikina, 20, to improve his on-court activity and controlled contact this week.
"You never want a guy to miss time obviously," Knicks head coach David Fizdale said, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman. "It's neither in his control or our control. Hopefully we get him back soon to full strength. It hurts rhythm, timing. It hurts a lot of things. Even veterans missing a lot of time, it sets them back. Once we get back on the court -- he's still been working, still shooting, doing some drills -- we'll hit the ground running."
New York doesn't return to Madison Square Garden until next Sunday, when it hosts the Los Angeles Lakers at noon.
Ntilikina hasn't played alongside Dennis Smith Jr. or DeAndre Jordan since January's blockbuster Kristaps Porzingis trade.
"Frank is good to have -- a guy like that you can sic on to people with a reputation for defending," Fizdale said. "When we get him back, it will be good to have that. When guys get going, you can throw Frank on them."
In 41 games this season, the former first-round pick has averaged 5.9 points and 2.8 assists.