By Ben Golliver
The Knicks announced Tuesday that veteran forward Kurt Thomas is expected to be sidelined two-to-four weeks after an MRI revealed an acute stress reaction surrounding a chronic stress fracture in the navicular bone of his right foot.
The extent of the injury was first reported by the New York Daily News, which noted that the stress reaction is "likely" to be season-ending and that an X-ray taken Monday initially revealed a bone spur.
Thomas, 40, the NBA's oldest player, is on a minimum contract of $1.4 million that expires after the season. If he is sidelined two weeks, Thomas will miss eight games; if he is sidelined four weeks, he will miss 16 games. The end of the regular season is a little more than four weeks away.
Thomas, who was acquired in a 2012 trade with the Trail Blazers, is averaging 2.5 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.1 minutes per game. But he was called into heavier action this week with the Knicks losing Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire to knee injuries. Thomas finished with six points and three rebounds in a season-high 26 minutes Monday when the Knicks beat host Utah to snap a four-game losing streak.
Until Anthony and Chandler return, New York's big man rotation is down to Marcus Camby, Kenyon Martin and Chris Copeland, as Rasheed Wallace was lost to injury earlier this season. New York's roster is full at 15 players, although Wallace could always be released to free up a roster spot. The free-agent pickings at this point of the season, though, are pretty slim.
Thomas, the No. 10 pick in the 1995 draft, holds averages of 8.1 points and 6.6 rebounds during an 18-year career that included stops with the Heat, Mavericks, Knicks, Suns, SuperSonics, Spurs, Bucks, Bulls and Blazers. The Knicks are 39-26, good for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. The franchise is seeking its first playoff-series victory since 2000.