Frank Ntilikina Questionable vs. Pistons with Ankle Injury Suffered in Practice

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 20, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 3:  Frank Ntilikina #11 of the New York Knicks handles the ball against D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Brooklyn Nets during the preseason game on October 3, 2017 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

The New York Knicks backcourt depth may be tested, as rookie guard Frank Ntilikina is dealing with a sprained ankle.        

On Friday, the Knicks announced that Ntilikina is questionable for their 2017-18 home opener against the Detroit Pistons on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

Newsday's Barbara Barker tweeted a photo of Ntilikina being helped off the court during Friday's practice after he turned his left ankle:

The Knicks selected the Belgium native with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft in June, and he was held scoreless over eight minutes in a 105-84 season-opening loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Thursday.

Ntilikina spent the previous two seasons playing for Strasbourg IG in the French LNB Pro A league, where he was twice named the Best Young Player.

Last season, in 32 games, Ntilikina averaged 5.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists.

That suggested he would need some seasoning at the NBA level before becoming a true impact player, and he landed in an ideal spot for that.

With the Knicks trading Carmelo Anthony to the Thunder in September, they have clearly embraced a youth movement that also includes the likes of Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez.

New York can afford to bring along Ntilikina slowly since challenging for a championship or even a playoff spot isn't likely in the team's immediate future.

While this season is mostly about developing young players and getting them ready for future campaigns, there are enough veterans present in the backcourt to prevent Ntilikina from having to carry the full load as a rookie.

Missing time could be somewhat detrimental to Ntilikina's development, but the Knicks have enough depth to replace him.

At point guard, Jarrett Jack and Ramon Sessions figure to receive the bulk of the playing time.

The Knicks have the luxury of taking a cautious approach with Ntilikina because of that, and there is little reason to rush him back into the lineup.


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