Injuries Pile up as 5 Key Knicks Players out vs. Pelicans

Knicks star Jalen Brunson rams into Evan Fournier

Getty Jalen Brunson #11 of the New York Knicks collides with Evan Fournier #31 of the Detroit Pistons during the first half at Madison Square Garden.

Injuries continue to mount for the banged-up New York Knicks.

Their All-Star point guard Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Hartenstein joined Julius Randle (dislocated shoulder), OG Anunoby (elbow surgery) and Mitchell Robinson (ankle surgery) in sick bay.

Brunson was ruled out against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday, February 27, the second night of a back-to-back homestand, with a cervical spasm in his neck.

“[Brunson] took some hits in the game,” Thibodeau said via SNY, “and when he woke up [Tuesday] morning, he had some spasms.”

Brunson played 40 minutes in their 113-111 win over the league-worst Detroit Pistons, producing a game-high 35 points and 12 assists.

On the other hand, the soreness in his left Achilles continues to bother Hartenstein.

“Just where we are in the season we thought the smart thing was take tonight off, get rest, do your recovery. That’s where we are with that,” Thibodeau said via SNY’s Ian Begley.

Hartenstein had 6 points and 8 rebounds in 27 minutes in his third game back from the same injury that caused him to miss 3 games before the NBA All-Star break.

Without the five key rotation players, Thibodeau will have to squeeze Herculean efforts from his role players Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Hart, Precious Achiuwa, Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks to stand a chance against the Western Conference’s current sixth-best Pelicans.

The Knicks will host the Golden State Warriors on Thursday and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday with two days of rest in between those games.

Becky Hammon Finally Admits Jalen Brunson a 1A Star

Two-time WNBA champion coach Becky Hammon backtracked on her earlier hot take Brunson that he is not a 1A star.

“He’s a tremendous player,” Hammon said on the “NBA Today” on February 27. “I love watching him play. I love watching the smaller guys play because they defy the odds, things that they’re doing out there they shouldn’t be doing. And Jalen is a perfect example. At the end of the day, they’re like, ‘Oh, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash’. I’m like [they were] MVPs of the league. They didn’t win a championship.

So yes, [Brunson] is your 1A [star] and all I was saying is that I don’t think you win a championship [with him]. It’s not that he’s not amazing. He’s amazing! So calm down, New York!”

Since Hammon’s December comment, Brunson continued to blossom into an All-Star point guard as he led the Knicks to a 14-2 record in January.

Last 2 Minute Report on Controversial Knicks-Pistons Game

According to the NBA Last 2 Minute Report, the referees missed two Pistons violations before the controversial non-call on Donte DiVincenzo which led to Josh Hart‘s game-winning play.

With 58 seconds left, the Pistons’ possession which saw former Knicks wing Quentin Grimes scoring a go-ahead layup should have been awarded to New York.

The Last 2 Minute report said Detroit center Jalen Duren committed a loose ball foul on Hartenstein before the ball went out of bounds in favor of the Pistons. Durent also committed a defensive 3-second violation with 25 seconds remaining which should have given the Knicks a technical free throw and a possession.

But the Last 2 Minute report also upheld crew chief James Williams‘ assessment in the pool report that a loose ball foul should have been called on DiVincenzo for diving into Pistons rookie Ausar Thompson.

Read More