The Knicks moved closer to securing a guaranteed playoff spot in the East with their win over Houston on Sunday, but it may have come at a cost. Veteran big man Nerlens Noel left the game after suffering an ankle injury in the third quarter and didn’t return.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who notes that Noel was diagnosed with a left ankle sprain, X-rays on that ankle were negative. While that’s good news for the Knicks and their starting center, he’ll undergo further evaluation on Monday to determine the severity of the injury and a potential timeline for his return.
Here are a few more notes from around the Atlantic:
- Celtics guard Jaylen Brown limped off the court favoring his right leg after colliding with teammate Jayson Tatum late in Sunday’s loss to Portland, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Both players headed to the locker room after the collision, though Tatum said after the game that he felt OK. Brown’s status isn’t yet known.
- Celtics wing Evan Fournier has been back for six games after dealing with COVID-19 and scored 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting on Sunday. However, he told reporters he’s still feeling the aftereffects of the virus. “I feel like I have a concussion,” Fournier said, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic (Twitter link). “Right now, it’s actually doing a little bit better. But at first, the bright lights were bothering my eyes, my vision was blurry, and everything was going too fast for me. … My depth perception is really bad right now, but I saw a specialist and she gave me some exercises, and hopefully I can get better.”
- As Blake Murphy of The Athletic notes, Raptors swingman Gary Trent Jr., who has missed the last five games with a leg injury, is just one start (or 57 minutes played) away from meeting the starter criteria, which would increase the value of his qualifying offer and cap hold. While it may just be a coincidence based on which Raptors were available, it’s worth noting that Trent came off the bench in his last two healthy games after starting his first eight with the team. Toronto would gain a little extra cap flexibility this offseason if Trent falls short of meeting the starter criteria.