The New York Knicks, like many other NBA clubs, are now shorthanded due to a number of players undergoing health and safety tests (although they just got Obi Toppin cleared and will hopefully get RJ Barrett back before Christmas). Injury has reduced their backcourt to the point where Kemba Walker started in their previous game after being pulled from the rotation earlier in the month, compounding their COVID absences.
Derrick Rose’s ankle issue necessitated surgery on Wednesday, and the Knicks confirmed he will be out for at least eight weeks before being re-evaluated.
With Rose out, getting something out of Walker would be huge for the Knicks, because if they don’t, they’ll have to rely heavily on Immanuel Quickley and Alec Burks, as well as off-guards like Barrett and Evan Fournier, to carry the team’s creative load. Rose’s absence is significant for a club seeking to find some form of an offensive identity, especially with Julius Randle buried in a season-long shooting slump. The Knicks will have to give Walker some prolonged burn until Quickley, who entered procedures on Dec. 18, returns, in order to establish he can be a good contribution once they get closer to full strength after guys pass protocols.