Enes Kanter likely to start again as Luke Kornet suffers left ankle sprain, bone bruise
New York Knicks big man Luke Kornet is expected to be out of commission for “a couple of weeks” after an MRI scan that was taken on Tuesday revealed a left ankle sprain and bone bruise. With Kornet sidelined, Enes Kanter will likely be called on to start at center, according to a report from ESPN’s Ian Begley.
Luke Kornet has a left ankle sprain with bone bruise, the Knicks say. He is in a walking boot and will be re-evaluated over the weekend. This means Enes Kanter is probably back in the rotation and starting for NYK.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) January 22, 2019
Though Kornet’s injury is unfortunate, it means Kanter will get the playing time he’s been craving.
Kanter, who came in for Kornet after his injury in Monday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, has fallen to the bottom of New York’s rotation. As you might expect, the center is not pleased with this demotion.
“We’re competitors, and I want to go out there and play basketball, and I understand now the situation with the Knicks,” Kanter told SNY after playing just 19 minutes in Monday’s 127-109 loss to the Thunder. “It’s tough because they’re trying to give the young guys a lot of minutes and get them better, but it’s not like I’m 32, 33 years old. I’m 26 years old, and I want to go out there and compete and play basketball.”
In his 42 appearances with the Knicks this season (23 starts), Kanter has racked up averages of 14.4 points on 54.1 percent shooting from the field (33.3 percent from beyond the arc), 10.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 26.3 minutes per contest.
Several teams are rumored to be interested in Kanter’s services, but he hasn’t requested a trade. The Turkish-born center says he just wants to focus on playing basketball.
“I want to play basketball,” Kanter said. “I love it here. I love New York. I love the fans, but in the end, I want to play basketball.”
Kanter and the Knicks (10-35 and 5th in the Atlantic Division standings) will be back in action on Wednesday, when they’ll serve as hosts to James Harden and the Houston Rockets. Tip-off inside Madison Square Garden is set for 7:30 p.m. EST.