There still isn’t any word on Knicks center Tyson Chandler, who may not suit up for Game 1 against the Miami Heat Saturday afternoon.
On Friday, Knicks coach Mike Woodson told reporters that there was a “strong possibility” that the Knicks best defensive player—and strong Defensive Player of the Year candidate—won’t be available because of flu-like symptoms.
“Yesterday he basically slept and didn’t eat much and tried to keep as much fluids in him as possible,” the coach said, according to the New York Daily News.
Chandler didn’t practice with the team on Friday and he was being kept away from the rest of the squad so he doesn’t spread the illness.
The Knicks center also sat out the Knicks season finale on Thursday against the Charlotte Bobcats.
According to reports, Woodson said Chandler will be re-evaluated before Saturdays’ game, which tips off at 3:30 p.m.
If he can’t suit up, Woodson said Jared Jeffries will be the starter.
Chandler was a key piece of the Dallas Mavericks team that won the NBA championship last season. Many observers pointed to Chandler’s defense as the reason why the Mavericks were able to finally get over the hump and give owner Mark Cuban a ring.
So the Knicks cannot afford to lose Chandler for a lengthy period of time.
Chandler averaged 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, and was an intimidating force in the paint during the regular season.
While his availability is up in the air, Carmelo Anthony said he fully expects to see Chandler on the court at game time.
“He’s a little ill, but he’ll be with me [Saturday],” Anthony said, according to ESPN. “We don’t really care about today. As long as he’s with me [Saturday], we’ll be fine.”