Social media and the New York media erupted in disdain when the Knicks signed Tim Hardaway Jr. to a four-year, $72 million free agent deal this past summer.
After all, they traded him away in the past after a generally unimpressive stint with the club.
However, after averaging 14.5 points in 27.3 minutes per game for the Atlanta Hawks last season, Hardaway found himself on the radar of the Knicks' front office yet again.
Despite the large salary, the organization appears to have made an uncharasteristically-smart decision as Hardaway has enjoyed success this year, putting up career-highs in points (17.8), rebounds (4.2), assists (3.3) and minutes (34.1) per game for the Knicks.
But, that all came to a halt when he recently went down with a shin injury. Hardaway missed Sunday's game against the Orlando Magic and Monday's against the Indiana Pacers, both of which resulted in losses.
Per Marc Berman of the New York Post, Knicks fans should be worried about the injury, as "a leading orthopedist at Northwestern University told The Post the Knicks shooting guard could be out as little as two weeks or as long as two months."
It all comes down to whether the injury is a stress reaction or a stress fracture. A stress fracture is such “a small break’’ that only an MRI exam or bone scan can determine it, according to Dr. Wellington Hsu. In that case, Hardaway could play on it, but “if you keep playing on it, it will lead to a complete fracture and end your year,’’ Hsu said.
On the other hand, a stress reaction is much less severe and could be treated with rest. “It’s no break, just swelling in the bone,’’ Hsu noted.
Via Berman's reporting, "A major stress reaction would require Hardaway rest for four-to-six weeks, Hsu estimated. However, Hsu said it’s more common for the stress reaction to be minor with just one-to-two weeks of rest required."
As you can imagine, Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek is concerned.
“I think it’s concerning to everybody, an injury that might be longer than a game or two,’’ Hornacek said. “He’s getting evaluated. Hopefully we’ll find out more. Tim was not only a scorer for us, he helped activity, drove to the basket. We’re hoping it’s not too long.’’
“He’s a tough kid,’’ Hornacek added. “He had ankle sprains and didn’t miss practice. He’d play through those things. It’s a good attribute to have in a guy. This could be a wear and tear. We’ll find out more.’’
If Hardaway misses extended time, the 11-12 Knicks could continue to slip in the standings, which would be a disappointment to the team's fanbase.