Kristaps Porzingis may miss the remaining three games of the regular season due to back spasms, according to ian Begley of ESPN.com. While the injury is not being deemed as serious, coach Jeff Hornacek said they will be “careful” with him.
“Therapy, anti-inflammatories and rest is necessary,” the Fantasy Doctor’s Dr. Selene Parekh said. “Hopefully this is not a sign of something structurally going on.”
Porzingis had returned to form in the month of March, averaging 18 points and eight rebounds per game. It comes after he average 15 points or less in the previous two months of the season. But the Knicks playoffs have long since been forgotten. The decision to have him sit the remainder of the season is typical of a franchise attempting to protect and preserve the body of a young star.
Hornacek will need to embrace smaller lineups with the seven footer on the shelf. Maurice Ndour started at power forward on Tuesday against the Chicago Bulls, scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in 33 minutes on the court. A strong line for a player who was out of the rotation for most of the season. However, Ndour was not in the starting lineup for Thursday’s game against the Washington Wizards.
Hornacek opted to start Marshall Plumlee at power forward, but he mustered just two rebounds and one assist in 11 minutes of action. Maurice Ndour scored three points to go with five rebounds and two assists in 21 minutes off the bench. Mindaugas Kuzminskas has also seen a bump in minutes since Porzingis went down. He had 11 and eight points in the two games since the injury. The Knicks have been giving him a sprinkle of minutes at power forward in Porzingis’ absence.
While neither are worth rushing to the waiver wire to keep your fantasy basketball championship hopes alive, Ndour and Kuzminskas serve as the biggest beneficiaries in the fallout of the Porzingis injury announcement.
It still remains to be seen if these back spasms will continue to affect the big man in the long term, as Dr. Parekh said.