Enes Kanter out vs. Hawks Due to Back Injury; Willy Hernangomez to Start

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistNovember 24, 2017

New York Knicks' Enes Kanter, left, drives past Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

The New York Knicks' frontcourt will be without a key contributor Friday, as center Enes Kanter was ruled out due to back spasms, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post

With Kanter out, Willy Hernangomez will start at center against the Atlanta Hawks.

So far this season Kanter has been highly productive for the Knicks with 13.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.

Kanter missed 10 games last season due to a fractured forearm he suffered after punching a chair on the sidelines during a game against the Dallas Mavericks

It was the first time since the 2012-13 season that Kanter has missed at least 10 games in a season. The 25-year-old averaged 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in 72 games with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016-17. 

The Knicks acquired Kanter in a blockbuster trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Thunder on Sept. 23. He gives New York head coach Jeff Hornacek the versatility to share the floor with Hernangomez or handle minutes at center on his own. 

Because the Knicks have Hernangomez, who averaged a solid 8.2 points and seven rebounds in 72 games as a rookie last season, the loss of Kanter won't impact what Hornacek wants to do. 

Hernangomez's production has dropped to 4.2 points and 1.4 rebounds per game this season in a reserve role, but he has a chance to put up big numbers against a Hawks team that has struggled to a 3-15 start.