The New York Knicks are truly a different team compared to every other organization in the NBA. With a prestigious history in one of the most famous cities in the world, the Knicks have always struggled to keep players healthy.
Raymond Felton, the Knicks’ starting PG, re-injured his hamstring during the third quarter of the season opener against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Knicks had a gigantic lead over a team without Brandon Jennings, Carlos Delfino, Epke Udoh and Luke Ridnour. However, once Felton was injured, the Knicks started to struggle, giving up a 25-point lead entering the second half as the Bucks tied things up with approximately four minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Felton’s injury was minor, but it may be a sign for things to come for the 29-year old. He was able to return but stayed in the Knicks’ locker room for the majority of the third quarter for evaluation. The official record of injury stated that Felton sprained his left hamstring. This is the same hamstring that he injured during the preseason, which is something the Knicks need to watch out for.
Last year, Felton missed an extensive period of time due to injuries, including a month due to a fractured right pinkie. The injury-prone guard is looking to show that he’s a team leader, something the Knicks have been looking for. Sure, Carmelo Anthony is the guy they need to score, but they need someone to give the team communication, something they’ve lacked over the past decade.
He works nearly perfectly with Anthony as well as Tyson Chandler, creating opportunities for the team to score on the fast break.
Though the Knicks have Pablo Prigioni, Beno Udrih and Chris Smith on the bench if needed, the team truly can’t afford to lose Felton. He is a quick guard that’s able to score in the paint as well as create offensive openings that weren’t there. Obviously Felton isn’t a top point guard, but he’s certainly one that can be a team leader for the Knicks.
For the remainder of the season, they’re going to have to be extremely careful with Felton, making sure he doesn’t cause any structural damage to his hamstring.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.