— Barbara Barker (@meanbarb) October 20, 2017
Bad news for the New York Knicks as rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina left practice early with an injured ankle.
Frank Ntilikina had to be helped off the floor at practice on Friday with what appears to be a fairly significant ankle injury. Both the Knicks and their fans will be anxiously awaiting updates on the status of the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft.
This injury could be a major setback in the French point guard’s development. Despite only playing eight minutes in their season-opening loss to Carmelo Anthony and the Oklahoma City Thunder—in which he was held scoreless and dished only one assist— Ntilikina is expected to become a prominent piece in the Knicks’ rotation this year.
In addition to the apparent ankle injury, Ntilikina has been battling a knee injury since the preseason. Despite Ntilikina’s assurance that he was 100 percent heading into the season opener, it is clear that head coach Jeff Hornacek limited his minutes to prevent further injury.
Any significant injury to Ntilikina will strain the team’s lineup even more. Ramon Sessions, Ron Baker, and Jarrett Jack, who was inactive Thursday night, will all see their minutes increase if he’s lost for any significant amount of time.
Jack is a capable veteran and probably gives the Knicks a better chance to win in the short term. Regardless, the Knicks are not in a position to contend this year. Ntilikina’s development alongside the franchise’s crown jewel, Kristaps Porzingis, has always been the priority for this team.
ESNY will continue to bring you updates on his status as news breaks.