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
National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

National

PHOTO: New Zealand Heral uses wrong image to…

The New Zealand Herald made a terrible mistake of using the wrong image to illustrate the tragic death of Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland – a New Zealand-born Israeli soldier who…

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.