frank ntilikina new york knicks
(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks could be without their best defensive player on Monday as Frank Ntilikina deals with a sore back.

According to the NBA injury report, Frank Ntilikina is questionable with a sore upper back. The third-year guard left the New York Knicks‘ game against the Boston Celtics on Sunday after playing about seven minutes.

The French point guard has yet to miss a game due to injury this season, but he’s had issues with his back of late. Injuries stunted his growth in year two and it’s possible that the Knicks want to give him Monday off to rest up. New York plays again on Thursday night against the Denver Nuggets.

Dennis Smith Jr. will likely make his first start of the season if Ntilikina can’t go. Additionally, Kadeem Allen will meet the team in Milwaukee. Allen is currently on a two-way contract and has only appeared in G League games up to this point in the season.

Marcus Morris Sr. has been ruled out for the second-straight game with cervical spasms. The veteran forward has been the Knicks’ best player this season and his absence was felt on Sunday night.

New York collapsed in the fourth quarter, yet again, and couldn’t convert on their free throws, yet again. Morris is currently the only consistent free-throw shooter on the roster and he’s been their most consistent offensive player in general.

The Milwaukee Bucks will be missing Sterling Brown (AC joint sprain) and Brook Lopez (back soreness) as well. The two Eastern Conference foes will tip-off at 8 p.m. ET.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.