ESPN New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler has a small non-displaced fracture of his right fibula and is expected to miss four to six weeks, the team announced Wednesday. Chandler left Tuesday’s game against the Bobcats in the first quarter after suffering the injury during a collision with Charlotte point guard Kemba Walker. Further tests to Chandler’s injury taken Wednesday showed the fracture. The Knicks say Chandler, the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2011-12, did not suffer any ligament or nerve damage will not need surgery. Chandler is arguably the second-most important Knick behind Carmelo Anthony, so New York will be hard-pressed to fill the void left by his injury. Chandler has averaged 7.3 points and 9.0 rebounds through New York’s first four games this season. “I just pray and hope that he’s fine, he’s all right,” Anthony said after the Knicks fell to 1-3 with Tuesday’s loss to the Bobcats.
There is no way sugarcoat this injury fellow Knicks fans, Tyson Chandler is the player that could least afford to lose, and the Knicks sluggish (1-3) start will be much tougher to turn around without their former Defensive Player Of The Year center sidelined. Chandler is by far the Knicks best rebounder, the only player on the Knicks roster who is capable of protecting the rim, his tenacity and interior defense is irreplaceable. The saddest part of this injury is the fact that Chandler was hampered by a lingering neck injury last season, that had him look like a shell of his former self, as he struggled on both ends of the court. This season, Chandler looked like his old self, a monster inside on both ends of the court, and the Knicks patented Felton-to-Chandler alley-oop seemed to be working to perfection. The Knicks can tread water by playing small ball and trying to out score opponents until Chandler returns, but I f this is another lingering injury that nags Chandler all season long, the Knicks will be in for a long year. The Knicks just do not have a backup plan for Chandler, and I guess they will try to squeak by with a combination of Amare Stoudrmire, Kenyom Martin, Andrea Bargnani and Cole Aldrich until he returns from this injury, but after a poor start this injury could be a devastating blow to the Knicks season.
NOTE: I meant it when I said that Chandler was the one player the Knicks could not afford to lose, and I am catching some heat for not saying Carmelo Anthony missing time would be worse, but I stand by that statement. Anthony is the Knicks best scorer, but the Knicks have plenty of scorers, and could get by without Melo. Chandler is the Knicks only interior presence, rebounder, shot blocker. Losing Chandler is absolutely killer for the New York Knicks.