Knicks point guard Elfrid Payton, who hasn’t played since October 28 due to a strained right hamstring, still hasn’t fully recovered from that injury and will remain sidelined for the time being, the team announced today (via Twitter).
Head coach David Fizdale said today that Payton has started jogging again (Twitter link via Marc Berman of The New York Post). However, according to the Knicks, he’ll be out for at least another week and a half, and will be re-evaluated in 10 days.
While it’s a rough break for Payton, who has been plagued by injuries over the last couple years, his absence makes some rotation decisions simpler for the Knicks. Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr. will continue to receive opportunities at the point while Payton sits, with RJ Barrett taking on some ball-handling duties as well.
Ntilikina, Smith, and Payton are looking to make strong impressions on the Knicks this year, as the 2020 offseason figures to be important for all three players. Ntilikina and Smith will become extension-eligible next July, while Payton could return to the unrestricted free agent market if New York opts not to fully guarantee his $8MM salary for 2020/21. Currently, just $1MM of that figure is guaranteed.