The New York Knicks' hopes of securing a playoff place this season started to deteriorate in the last few months but their campaign was effectively over after a major injury blow to star Kristaps Porzingis.
The Latvian suffered a torn ACL against the Milwaukee Bucks last week and the Knicks are now looking towards the lottery instead of the postseason.
Porzingis was having a career year in New York and was preparing for his first All-Star appearance in Los Angeles this weekend.
He was averaging 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and a league-leading 2.4 blocks per game.
It's still early to determine the timetable for his recovery at this stage but the team announced that the 22-year-old underwent successful surgery.
According to ESPN's Ian Begley, the expectation at this point is that the power forward will face at least 10 months out.
That could potentially mean a return in December but it all depends on the rehab process and how quickly the Knicks will want to reintegrate him back into the fold.
As their prized asset, they'll surely look to ease him slowly and take precautionary measures to get him back to full health and playing at a high level once again.
Both Porzingis and the franchise now face major questions in the coming months as he will be sidelined throughout the rookie-scale extension window in the offseason.
As he'll be entering his fourth year in the league, KP will be eligible to sign an extension with the team in October but this injury could complicate matters slightly.
There's no doubt that the organisation will want to tie their best player down to a long-term deal but it'll be interesting to see if they'll do so while he's recovering from a serious injury.
They may look to offer him less than the max deal as a result and but whether Porzingis would be willing to accept that is a different matter.
The Philadelphia 76ers didn't hesitate to offer Joel Embiid a max contract even though he missed two full seasons with injury so it'll be a huge surprise if the Knicks don't tie down their All-Star big.
But the bigger questions will revolve around the Knicks front office and how they proceed without their seven-footer.
Their chances of contending for a playoff spot next season will depend on their moves in the summer and it certainly won't be easy to attract big free agents with Porzingis out.
The Knicks' top brass will have their work cut out trying to build a competitive roster for next year.News Now - Sport News