The Knicks' top two scorers -- F Kristaps Porzingis and SG Tim Hardaway Jr. -- are out for Monday's game against the Pacers, per ESPN's Ian Begley.
The two Knicks starter didn't see the floor in Sunday night's 105-100 loss to the Magic, and the team didn't include them in their travel plans to Indiana either as they nurse their injuries. Porzingis has a right ankle sprain he suffered during the team's win over the Heat last week as well as an undisclosed illness. He did test his ankle before the game, but the team determined he wasn't ready to get out on the floor.
X-rays and an MRI have shown no structural damage to Porzingis' ankle, but he wasn't on the floor at practice for the two days before Sunday's game. He did say, however, that the swelling in the ankle had decreased since the initial sprain.
Hardaway, who has been dealing with foot problems, has a stress injury in his left shin. His scratch was more of a surprise as it came just before gametime yesterday. The team's medical staff will continue to monitor the injury as it has been a problem of late.
The Knicks will surely miss Porzingis and Hardaway, who combined for 43 points against the Pacers earlier this season. In their place last night was F Michael Beasley and rookie SG Damyean Dotson. Beasley notched a team-high 21 points in last night's contest while Dotson only had two.
Porzingis is currently the league's fifth-best scorer with 22.5 points per game while also averaging a league-leading 2.1 blocks per game. Hardaway has enjoyed his starting role in his return to the Knicks with 17.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game.
It is unclear whether or not Porzingis and Hardaway will be traveling to Memphis to face the Grizzlies on Wednesday.
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It makes sense this early in the season for the Knicks to play it safe with Porzingis and Hardaway Jr. They are the two best players on the team, and the Knicks need them down the stretch.
With that being said, we're not going to be able to say it's early in the season too much longer. We're already past the quarter mark of the year, and once Christmas comes, the Knicks schedule begins to get much more difficult. What is most frustrating about it is that they just can't win without these guys. These are two guys more than anyone else besides maybe Enes Kanter that they need on the floor to win games.
What is also frustrating about it is at any point these injuries could linger. Hardaway Jr. has had times after games where he is limping his way out of the locker room. We're 22 games into the season. That is not a good sign at all with 60 games to go, and it's not going to get any better as they play more minutes. One more turn of the ankle and Porzingis could miss extended time. These are day-to-day injuries that could be longer, and there's going to be second nights of back-to-backs they are going to miss.
These games here and there could end up costing the Knicks a playoff spot, but only time will tell. For now, you have got to be cautious so you have them healthy for the second half.