New York Knicks big man Andrea Bargnani, who tore a ligament in his left elbow against the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 22, called the injury “terrible” and doesn’t know when he’ll be able to return to the court.
Bargnani recently spoke to reporters at the New York Post and said, “I have no idea [on a return date]. It’s a ligament broke and you see how it heals and how strong the arm gets. You got to make sure it’s 100 percent. I really don’t know the timeline. It’s terrible, just terrible but what can you do. Because it’s similar to last year, it’s even more frustrating. It’s terrible sitting out, the worst.’’
In Bargnani’s absence, however, the Knicks have finally seemed to hit their stride. They’ve won four straight games without the 7-footer by an average of more than 23 points per game. They blew out the reeling Cleveland Cavaliers, 117-86, on Thursday. In five games prior with the Italian big man, New York lost all five contests. The Knicks have thrived by utilizing a small-ball lineup that puts Carmelo Anthony at power forward and uses dual point guards in Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni.
Why Woodson ever strayed away from small-ball rotations in the first place is a complete mystery, because they were the crux of last year’s team that finished the regular season with a 54-28 record. Additionally, two of the Knicks’ three lineups that have surrendered fewer than one point per possession from opponents with ‘Melo at the 4. So even the defense has played better in such situations.
Bargnani has reiterated that has no idea when he will be back on the floor and considering how well the Knicks have played without the big man in the lineup, his comeback may be quietly unwelcomed. With the small roll that the Knicks are on, the saying of “keep it simple, stupid” really reins true here. A message to coach Woodson, don’t do anything differently, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.