Dennis Smith Jr.'s weird tension takes on a life of its own. A serious baseball injury – the Yankees' Aaron Judge had to rest for two months last season – is also going to be a serious basketball injury.
Knicks Point Guard, who came on at Kristaps Porzingis last January, missed his ninth consecutive game at Sunday's matinee against Miami. There is no clear prognosis for a return, although there is talk of progress.
"It's actually faster (than I expected)," said Smith about his schedule. "I heard that it could take two months under oblique loads. Actually, I make quick progress. I'm going through the process. I feel better. The good thing is that I'm making progress. "
Smith is not surprised that he suffered the rare basketball injury considering how it happened. It was a cross-court pass in practice, he said. "I felt like my ribs separated on the side," said Smith. "And they say jugs also happen."
During the Knicks' limited practice time, Smith was discovered for contract practice, but not for everyone.
"He does parts of it," said interim coach Mike Miller. "He's not completely blown out. He's doing something and coming out. There is still pain he feels when he does certain things."
Smith, who recently had an MRI, confirmed that his movements into the basket were hampered. "It's movements that I have to make to play the way I play," said Smith, whose strength lies in his penetration. "I still feel pain with these movements. We're trying to work this through and they know when to remove me. "
Smith only played 21 games in his first full season with the Knicks, and there were signs that he wanted a fresh start. After his stepmother's death, he missed the action and received a handful of DNPs.
Before the game on Sunday, he was relaxed and sat in the changing room with sunglasses (it was almost 70 degrees outside). He remembered his former AAU North Carolina teammate Bam Adebayo, who is currently organizing an all-star caliber season for the heat. They were on the same team when Smith was in middle school.
As Smith lives through these battles, he can use Adebayo's journey as inspiration.
"It's just about situations," said Smith.
Frank Ntilikina missed the matinee on Sunday with an aching abdomen. Ntilikina was hampered by groin strain in the second half of last season. … Marcus Morris had a third game in a row with a neck injury, but Julius Randle returned to the team after a family death.