Updates from Thursday, April 3
“Honestly, my elbow don’t hurt at all,” Felton said. “It’s my ribs on the right side. It was pretty bad so that’s what I’m dealing with right now.”
Felton, who vowed to play Friday against Washington after a day of rest, returned with 9:55 left in the 110-81 rout of the Nets at the Garden.
“I want to play. I want to be out there,” he said. “You still got to tear my legs off my limbs for me not to go out and play.”
The Knicks' official PR Twitter feed reported the news, indicating that Felton's return to the floor was questionable:
Raymond Felton has contused ribs and back. He is questionable to return.— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) April 3, 2014
Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com then observed that Felton returned to the bench wrapped up:
Raymond Felton is back on the #Knicks' bench with a wrap around his midsection.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) April 3, 2014
It's unlikely New York would press Felton into duty any further since it held a commanding 25-point halftime lead. The veteran was a minimal contributor to the cause as it was, producing just three points, three rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes of action.
Felton's conditioning has been called into question in the past, leading Zach Harper of CBS Sports to poke a bit of fun at Felton:
Per the Knicks, Raymond Felton ordered ribs and won’t be back in this game. #TwitterTelephone— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) April 3, 2014
"We were asking ourselves, What are we going to do?" said Felton, per the New York Times' Scott Cacciola. "Are we going to get this, or are we going to fold up and go home?"
Apparently Felton answered his own open-ended question on Wednesday, returning in the fourth quarter despite the Knicks' massive lead. Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal reported on that surprising development, and Al Iannazzone of Newsday set the scene in the Garden:
Felton comes back into the game after his hard fall in the 3Q.— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) April 3, 2014
For some reason, Raymond Felton is re-entering the game. Loudest cheers he's received all season.— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) April 3, 2014
There is still a shot for the Knicks to make the postseason in the weak Eastern Conference, but all their remaining games are against teams that have already secured playoff berths and are fighting for certain seeds. If Felton is to miss extended time, his backup, Pablo Prigioni, would be tasked with running the offense.
That may be a bit of fresh air for New York, because Felton's play has been criticized this season. Entering Wednesday's contest, he was shooting worse than 40 percent from the field, yet he was averaging 5.7 assists to just 2.1 turnovers.
Felton is a capable distributor, but he doesn't match up well in the current NBA, which is as deep as any time in recent memory at point guard. Whether he's on the floor or not, the Knicks' chances at the postseason seem slim even with a great chance to win against the Nets.