The Knicks started off their playoff run with an impressive victory over the Cavaliers this past weekend, as they beat their conference rivals 101 to 97 in Game 1. Unfortunately for them, their guard Josh Hart has suffered an ankle sprain and is in doubt for this Tuesday’s second matchup against Cleveland.
Hart, whose versatility on court has strengthened New York’s bench this second part of the season, was limited in practice this Monday as the medical staff listed him as questionable for tonight’s round two.
Josh Hart sprained his ankle then went back out and hit the biggest shot of the game. It looked like he was smiling on the way back down the court but he’s actually grimacing in pain.
All heart https://t.co/MocWHSCAhQ pic.twitter.com/wfdG4nwYTw
— Talkin’ Knicks (@TalkinKnicks) April 17, 2023
The 28-year-old was a crucial part of the Knick’s team in the series opener, as he outscored the Cavs’ bench 17-14 and dropped a clutch three-pointer in the final minutes of the game they won by a close four-point margin on Saturday.
After yesterday’s training session, his coach Tom Thibodeau explained that the shooting guard underwent treatment separate from the rest of the team, and only participated in the initial workout.
“We’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” Thibodeau said. “Usually with sprains like that, it’s more how you feel the next day. He said he felt fine in the game, so well see where he is tomorrow.”
His injury comes at a time when New York’s biggest stars are finally returning from injury to confront the postseason with full strength, just as Jalen Brunson missed some of the last games of regular season, and All-Star Julius Randle made his way back to the floor this weekend.
The veteran foward missed the team’s last 5 matches due to an ankle sprain and hit 19 points against Cleveland, as the point guard scored 27 points after sitting out for 10 contests, as he had suffered both hand and foot injuries.
Hart, on the other hand, hurt his ankle in the fourth quarter, but was still able to drop an impactful three-pointer with 1:49 left to the final buzzer. The player has given New York depth coming off the bench in recent games for the Knicks, and this weekend was no exception.
Hart is interested in staying put in New York and signing a multi-year deal
Ever since the Knicks acquired the shooting guard from the Trail Blazers on February 8 they are 18-8. New York traded him in exchange for Cam Reddish and a 2023 lottery-protected first-round draft pick.
The 2017 first-round pick is playing better with New York than he did with Portland this campaign, as he averaged 10.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists in his squad’s last 25 regular-season games.
Is a contract extension in his future? Josh Hart is earning $12.96 million this season and has a 2023-24 player option worth the same amount. This is part of the three-year, $38 million contract the guard signed with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2021.
Hart’s worth will depend entirely on how he performs in the playoffs. That thought has to be on the minds of Knicks G.M. Scott Perry and team president Leon Rose. After all, Jalen Brunson inked a four-year, $104 million deal with the team during the offseason. Josh Hart just wants fair compensation.