The New York Knicks announced Friday that second-year point guard Frank Ntilikina will miss the rest of the season due to a re-aggravated groin injury, which occurred during Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
A statement from the team said the 20-year-old native of Belgium was reevaluated by Knicks medical staff. Following the reevaluation, it was determined he should miss the final two weeks of the season.
“It’s frustrating obviously — more for him than anybody,” said coach David Fizdale. “We would’ve loved to have those minutes for him to log in and help his player development. The kid is 20 years old. He’s going to have a great summer, get him healed up and get him ready for next year.”
Ntilikina, picked No. 8 by New York in the 2017 NBA Draft, played in just 43 games this season and averaged 5.7 points. He missed 24 straight games with a pulled groin and just returned to action on March 22, he came off the bench to score five points and played 25 minutes in a loss to the Denver Nuggets. In his second game on Sunday, when he played less than seven minutes and did not score, the groin injury flared up again during the second half.
“I got to stay positive to what is happening,” Ntilikina said. “It’s frustrating, but it’s for my health. I know it’s the right decision to make right now.”
Ntilikina admitted that he was “not 100 percent” after his return last week.
“I felt something before the game,” Ntilikina said. “After the (Sunday) game, it was pretty sore. I practiced after the first game. In the morning, I had that feeling I was not 100 percent. I knew that to be the case. I was just trying to get through the game. After the game I knew it was worse than before.”
When asked if Ntilikina was facing surgery, Fizdale said, “Not yet, no.”
“Physically, he was totally prepared for this year,” added Fizdale. “That’s why I felt totally comfortable putting him on different people. He really put a lot into his body this summer. This kid, I feel really bad for him. He’s one of our hardest workers.”
The Knicks (14-61) have seven games left in the regular season and host the Miami Heat on Saturday.