Knicks’ Grunwald calls knee surgery J.R. Smith’s decision

J.R. Smith couldn't carry the Knicks to a win in Portland. Credit: Getty Images
Glen Grunwald said the decision to have surgery was Smith’s, though the team supported him.
Credit: Getty Images

The Knicks formally made the announcement Tuesday afternoon that J.R. Smith underwent patella tendon surgery and an arthroscopy for a tear in the lateral meniscus in his left knee and will be out at least 12-16 weeks.

Smith wasn’t available for comment during Tuesday’s conference call, but team president Glen Grunwald was around to answer the queries as to why the flighty shooting guard decided to have the procedures now, knowing the recovery time will put him right up against the start of training camp.

Grunwald insisted that “the decision was J.R.’s” but added the team fully supported the player’s decision, no matter how ill-timed it seemed to just about everyone else.

“We’re hopeful he’ll be around once the season comes around. He’s a good worker. We’ve discussed it at length with J.R. and our medical staff,” Grunwald said. “We’re pretty comfortable that this is fixable and won’t cause any more problems over the next four years.”

The reason why four years is important is because the Knicks just gave Smith a new four-year, $24.7 million deal once the NBA’s moratorium ended on July 10. Smith, who reportedly fielded more lucrative offers elsewhere during the free-agent process, decided against possible greener pastures and returned to the team that helped him go from erratic journeyman to a key cog in a 54-win team last season.

Such loyalty wasn’t lost on either side, admitted Grunwald, who noted Smith gave his all to the franchise since the day the team signed him midseason in 2012 following Smith’s time in a Chinese league.

“J.R. had this problem all of last season, even before training camp, and to his credit he battled it all year and was a warrior for us,” said Grunwald. “At the end of the season we knew it was likely he’d have surgery, but we wanted to see what happens if he had rest instead. But as it turned out it was the best for him and us to have the surgery now. … He’s committed to starting the rehab as soon as possible and be ready by the time the regular season rolls around.”

Grunwald further went on to marvel at Smith’s fortitude, all while effectively evading the question as to why the team decided to offer four years to a player with a bad knee, and why the player repaid such generosity by waiting until mid-July to have a procedure that usually takes three-to-four months to function properly.

All Grunwald cared about was espousing the virtues to Smith’s toughness.

“It got worse over the course of the season, [particularly] the patella tendon, but obviously the cartilage was an issue, too. A lot of players wouldn’t have been able to play through that pain,” said Grunwald. “It didn’t get any worse, but it didn’t get any better. … We owed it to him to see if he’d eventually need surgery. We wanted to give him a chance to get better and heal with treatment and it never got better.”

Knicks notes …

» Grunwald also didn’t want to talk about Carmelo Anthony’s pending opt-out clause at the end of next season.

“It’s premature to talk about [Anthony opting out next summer], but we love Melo,” said Grunwald. “He’s great for New York and he’s great for it. We foresee a long partnership with him, but right now we’re only focusing on this upcoming season.”

» The point guard depth is also murky for the Knicks, but Grunwald insisted that anyone on their Summer League roster or in training camp will get a fair shot — even J.R. Smith’s younger brother, Chris, who failed to make the roster last season.

“Chris Smith, it’s premature to say [whether he’s the answer at the third point guard spot], but he is playing fairly well in the Summer League,” said Grunwald.

» It doesn’t sound like former Knicks guard Nate Robinson will be the answer.

“Nate had a great year in Chicago and they wouldn’t have had such a good season without Nate,” said Grunwald. “But right now, we’re still exploring alternatives on finding a third combo guard, so there’s nothing new to report.”

Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Apple says its systems not to blame for…

By Edwin Chan and Christina FarrSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of…

Local

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

NFL

Michael Vick set to be weekly guest with…

Mike Francesa may need to backtrack from his harsh commentary of Michael Vick now that the Jets backup quarterback will be a weekly guest on his show.

NFL

Jets expect to make playoffs after sitting on…

The same pundits who predicted the Jets would be woeful a season ago are now eying the playoffs for this revamped team.

NFL

Antonio Allen returns to practice after concussion

Antonio Allen was cleared to practice again following his concussion two weeks ago.

Sports

Belinda Bencic leads crop of young stars serving…

Belinda Bencic, a 17-year-old Swiss Miss, beat two Top-10 players before suffering a disappointing loss Tuesday in the quarterfinals.

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…