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Tim Hardaway Jr. showing progress, works out without brace on left leg

From NBA media reports

The New York Knicks made it clear weeks ago they would not rush guard Tim Hardaway Jr. back from the lower left leg injury that has hampered him of late. In that regard, nothing has changed for the team or the young scorer. What is new, though, is that Hardaway Jr. took a bit of a step forward in his progress at yesterday’s practice.

Zach Braziller of the New York Post reports Hardaway Jr. did some drills at practice without a brace on that lower left leg, something team doctors had previously been hesitant to allow Hardaway Jr. to do:

Hardaway wasn’t wearing a brace on his left leg as he took jump shots, went through shooting drills and jumped off both legs after Knicks practice on Tuesday.

“He’s moving more every day,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “So we’re just monitoring him more, giving him a little bit of time to see how that stress [injury] — whatever it is — responds when he puts a little weight on it. So it’s a good sign that he’s out there doing that.”

On Christmas Day, Hornacek said he expected Hardaway back at some point during this upcoming stretch of 20 games, 16 of which are on the road. That would mean sometime next month. It was the first time the coach gave an approximation on a return for the talented shooting guard.

Hardaway’s absence has put more pressure on Kristaps Porzingis, who is shooting just 40 percent from the field over his last nine games while averaging 20.6 points per game.