At 19-21, the New York Knicks are parked two games behind the Indiana Pacers, who sit at No. 8 in the Eastern Conference standings. That the Knicks have held things together so well while No. 2 scorer Tim Hardaway Jr. has missed the last 19 games with a stress injury in his lower left leg is worth noting as well.
The Knicks are waiting for when Hardaway Jr. can get back into games, of course, and he has maintained throughout his injury that he won't rush back into the mix before he's ready. All that said, there were some happier faces in Knicksland yesterday as Hardaway Jr. went through his first full practice.
While neither he nor the team have any idea when he will return, getting back in the practice mix was a welcome sign for both parties. Al Iannazzone of Newsday has more:
“It feels great,” Hardaway said. “I’m just happy to be back, to get up and down with the guys, get some of those competitive juices flowing.
“Once you got your teammates talking trash, all competitive spirits are flowing and people wanting to win ballgames, you kind of don’t worry about it. The game comes back to you. everything is second nature. It makes you go out there and want to win.”
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek has said Hardaway could be on a minutes restriction whenever he returns. Hardaway has maintained he wants to play when he’s fully healthy so he can be himself with no limitations or restrictions.
“I’m coming back when I’m confident,” he said. “Right now we’re close. It doesn’t matter what I think. It matters what the doctors say and what my training staff want me to do after I get the news. I have no answer for that right now.”