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NBA New York Knicks

NBA Rumors: New York Knicks Can’t Afford to Lose Tyson Chandler

Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

When the New York Knicks entered their final preseason game, the hope was that they would leave the game injury-free, but things didn’t go as planned.

Tyson Chandler injured his left knee in Wednesday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets after colliding with Gerald Wallace. He appeared to be in significant pain, but the team is calling it minor injury and left him out for the remainder of the game.

The Knicks can’t afford to have Chandler miss time. Amar’e Stoudemire is expected to be out 2-3 weeks with a ruptured popliteal cyst in his left knee, Marcus Camby didn’t play a game this preseason due to a calf injury and J.R. Smith has been out the past four-preseason games with an Achilles injury.

Without Chandler, Stoudemire and Camby, the Knicks would be forced to get creative with their lineups. Kurt Thomas, who is 40-years old, would likely get the start at center and Carmelo Anthony would slide over to power forward from the small forward position.

Rasheed Wallace participated in practice with the Knicks on Tuesday, but did not play against the Nets. He hopes to scrimmage by Friday, but it’s not known if he’ll be ready for the season opener, which is eight days away.

“It’s like when someone is working out and you’re running on that treadmill every day, but yet, when you get out on that track [for a race], it’s a different conditioning,’’ Wallace said. “It’s the same thing I am doing. I’m doing a lot of solo work, up and down the court. But once I know I’ll get out there and take some elbows, take some shots across the head, it’s a different type of conditioning.”

Chris Copeland should get the Knicks’ final guaranteed roster spot as an insurance policy with the recent injuries to the frontcourt. Copeland is a six-foot-eight power forward that averaged 21.8 points per game in the Belgium League for the Okapi Aalstar last season.