Eflrid Payton
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Elfrid Payton is still dealing with a hamstring strain that has limited the point guard to just four games with the New York Knicks thus far.

Injuries are a fact of life in the NBA and the New York Knicks are no exception. According to the team, Eflrid Payton‘s right hamstring strain is not fully healed and he will be re-evaluated next week (10 days from Tuesday).

The veteran point guard is making progress according to head coach David Fizdale, but clearly, he’s not game-ready yet.

“He actually started doing a little bit of jogging and some light running,” Fizdale said before Monday’s game. “He was doing a few pick-and-roll drills right now so he’s getting there. He’s progressing. He’s just not there yet.”

In four games, Payton is averaging 8.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. The veteran point guard last played on Oct. 28 in a win over the Chicago Bulls.


The Knicks’ point guard competition was one of the most intriguing storylines during training camp. Despite looking like the third man on the depth chart at the start of the season, Frank Ntilikina has taken a firm hold of the starting gig.

Although his offense is still a work-in-progress, he’s showing flashes of brilliance on that end while providing the elite defense many have come to expect from the 21-year-old.

Dennis Smith Jr. is assuming the backup point guard role after taking time away from the team to deal with the sudden and tragic loss of his stepmother. His up-and-down play is somewhat expected given the difficult circumstances he’s faced recently.

It’s unclear how the point guard rotation will shake out when Payton is healthy enough to step back into the rotation. He was the starter at the time of his injury, but Ntilikina’s recent surge and the possibility of Smith finding his rhythm could provide Fizdale with another point guard conundrum.

The Knicks will head to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers on Wednesday night (7 p.m. ET). Ntilikina will make his 10th straight start while Smith will come off the bench to lead the second unit.

 

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