Lance Thomas, who is dealing with a sore right hip, will likely not play in another game this season as the Knicks continue their march to the offseason.
Thomas, 28, has played in 46 games this season, averaging 6.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in just over 21 minutes per game.
He was limited to 59 games last season and has never played more than 62 games during his six-year career, which has been split between New Orleans and the Knicks.
Thomas signed a four-year deal worth $27.5 million with the Knicks prior to this season.
He may garner more attention for his absence, but Derrick Rose isn't the only Knick with a nagging injury that figures to shake his momentum heading into the offseason. After missing his seventh straight game with a sore right hip, another appearance by Lance Thomas this season looks to be in doubt.
Of course, Thomas doesn't carry the weight that a potential star player like Rose does. Still, the latest absence in a turbulent season for the forward is a cause for concern. Thomas is the idealistic glue guy whose long range prowess, defensive awareness, and veteran know-how has steadied New York's bench for parts of the last three seasons. He proved himself to be reliable, but the void that his multiple absences has created has gone on alter the rhythm of the second unit.
Should he not play again, Thomas' season total will stand at 46 games, 13 fewer than last season. That's a big problem. Entering this campaign, the Knicks had hopes of being competitive. After rewarding Thomas' hustle and loyalty with $27 million, it's clear the team viewed him as vital to that goal. Paying a player that type of pretty penny, only to appear in 46 games, makes it an incredibly underwhelming investment.
Thomas has never appeared in more than 59 games in a season, and his health was the main key entering this campaign. Last season, he fizzled out in similar fashion with an injury that too turned out to be season-ending. Unfortunately, he hasn't fulfilled such a goal.
Thomas' body doesn't appear used to the grind of an 82-game season because he's yet to scratch the surface of playing in close to as many games. Should the Knicks not look to trade Thomas and he returns next season, his team needs more. The versatility he brings to the table is so valuable to this team.
Not providing such prowess in a sufficient manner just turns out to be a tease. Not to mention, it also stands to disrupt any rhythm New York actually develops with him in the lineup. The team can't afford to have him serve as such a liability.