The New York Knicks will kick off the new NBA season against the Boston Celtics on October 20, but they might be doing it without one of their key pieces.
When healthy, the Knicks are a team that can compete with anybody, but there have already been some issues with health and we haven’t even made it to the regular season yet.
While Mitchell Robinson has played for the first time in several months, his counterpart Nerlens Noel does not look like he’ll be ready for the matchup against the Celtics.
In the absence of Robinson, Noel figured to get heavy minutes at the center position, but he’s been dealing with a knee injury all preseason and it looks like that will continue to plague him going into the regular season.
He’s currently listed as ‘doubtful’ for the game against the Celtics. This will be a big blow to the Knicks, but veterans Taj Gibson has shown he can step up in times of need.
Noel Still Dealing With Injury
With Noel missing practice on Sunday, his status for the Wednesday opener isn’t looking good, but he shouldn’t miss a ton of time if he does in fact miss that game.
“He’s just gotta be patient and let him work his way through it,” Thibodeau said according to the New York Daily News.
With Robinson only just now returning to game action, Gibson would more than likely be getting the start with the team. Even as 36 years old, he’s shown he can anchor the starting spot, and he’s even adding a bit to his game.
“I’m easy to adapt, even in practice, even in walk-through,” Gibson said. “I will switch from third team, first team, second team, so I just read the game. I’m comfortable. I’ve been playing with these guys for a while now. Whatever the game throws at me I’m able to adjust.”
Gibson is a Thibodeau favorite and has played for him as a member of the Bulls, Timberwolves and now the Knicks. He knows exactly what his coach wants for him and he’s been able to provide it.
With Noel not officially ruled out as of yet, there’s still a chance, albeit a slim one, that he’ll be ready to start the season, but Gibson could still get the start since he’s missed the preseason.
How Do The Knicks Look?
Evan Fournier, one of the newest signings in the offseason, has look hot and cold in the preseason, but if he’s able to get it together, the Knicks will be dangerous.
Despite all of this, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of hype around the team outside of New York. In fact, the team is projected to be a fringe playoff team, but everyone knows that anything could happen over the course of the season. All it takes is one injury and everything can change. Fans will just have to hope it works in the Knicks’ favor instead of against them.