For a Knicks team off to an ugly 1-3 start, the last thing they needed was an injury on top of it.
But the team got the bad news it dreaded Wednesday morning when Tyson Chandler learned he has a hairline fracture in his right leg and will be out four to six weeks. The injury is nondisplaced and will not require surgery.
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It will, however, require major changes to the Knicks lineup. Chandler, the 2011-12 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, is the key to the team’s defense. He is also the only true center the team has on its roster.
Chandler injured his leg on a freak play where Bobcats guard Kemba Walker was fouled and he stumbled into Chandler's right leg at 5:25 in the first quarter. He did not return.
Chandler is averaging 7.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game this season.
Kenyon Martin said Tuesday night he was ready to step in, should Chandler’s injury be serious, but the 35-year-old, 6-foot-9 veteran is not a true center.
“Of course we miss him. He’s our anchor,” said Carmelo Anthony, after Tuesday’s game. “But nobody has told us anything about him right now, so we just have to hope for the best. We gotta remain positive, because it’s real easy to go into a dark place right now.”
The team traded for Andrea Bargnani, the only other 7-footer on the roster, but he is not a back-to-the-basket player and has never been a defensive force. He has also gotten off to a rough start to his Knicks career.
Power forward Amar’e Stoudemire is still recovering from offseason knee surgery and has not shown the ability to play regular minutes. Stoudemire was actually booed by the MSG faithful Tuesday night.
The Knicks cut center Jeremy Tyler after the preseason, but he has been playing for Erie, the team's D-League franchise, and head coach Mike Woodson alluded to the fact they may have to bring him up. However, he is also still rehabbing from offseason surgery.
The Knicks began the season 6-0 last year and finished 54-28.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.