Frank Ntilikina Ruled Out vs. Lakers After Ankle Injury Diagnosed as Sprain

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2019

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15:  Frank Ntilikina #11 of the New York Knicks looks on during a stop in play in the first half against the Utah Jazz at Madison Square Garden on November 15, 2017 in New York City. 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  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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New York Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina suffered an ankle injury during Friday's matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. 

Per Mark Berman of the New York PostNtilikina has been ruled out for the remainder of the game with a sprained left ankle.                  

The injury occurred one minute after the second-year guard came into the game. He grabbed one rebound before departing. 

Ntilikina's injury adds to what has been a difficult season. Entering Friday, the 20-year-old was averaging 6.2 points and 2.6 assists over 34 games. His 34.9 shooting percentage ranked 418th out of 477 players in the NBA

The Knicks surprised many when they selected Ntilikina with the eighth overall selection in the 2017 draft instead of Dennis Smith Jr.

The decision raised even more eyebrows less than a week later, when the team and then-president Phil Jackson mutually agreed to part ways. Ntilikina's fit with the triangle offense was one of the selling points of his selection, and the triangle went out the door with Jackson.

Ntilikina eventually became a key contributor as a reserve. He averaged 5.9 points and 3.2 assists per game as a rookie, and New York allowed 6.7 more points per 100 possessions when he went to the bench in 2017-18, per NBA.com.

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Knicks head coach David Fizdale has taken a tough love approach with the team's younger players, including Ntilikina. At one point, he benched the French international for three straight games to send a message.

Should Ntilikina miss more time because of injury, Fizdale will likely use Trey Burke as his primary backup.

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