How Hurt is Tyson Chandler?

Tyson Chandler will miss tonight’s game with Memphis, still suffering from the bulging disk in his neck that has plagued him for a little while now. The Knicks will not play again until Friday, but at this point it’s still unclear if he’ll be ready to play then. According to this report by Newsday’s Al Iannazzone, the Knicks have not yet discussed the possibility of shutting Chandler down for the last two weeks to preserve him for the postseason:

It was brought up that the Celtics decided to sit Kevin Garnett for two weeks with a foot injury because they want him strong for the playoffs. Chandler said he doesn’t think he will miss that much time.

“I absolutely have to make sure I’m right,” he said. “I hope not that long. I don’t foresee it being that long. I felt like I was close yesterday. But, like the trainers talked about, I’ve got to be able to move around and feel good. [Monday] I felt like I was close. I’m like, ‘Close is good enough for me, let’s try it.’ But obviously I’m not good.”

Mike Woodson said it’s up to Chandler as to when he returns. Woodson said the Knicks didn’t think about sitting him for an extended period like Garnett because he wants to make sure the team is strong heading into the postseason.

Brian DiMenna

Now, I’m going to resist the urge to make jokes about the Knicks’ medical staff since they are mostly medical doctors and I am a mere blogger who couldn’t tell you the proper course of action for a bulging disc in one’s neck unless he read it in a book, and even then only if an actual doctor was standing there next to me to make sense of it all . I didn’t even totally realize there were discs in there.

But amid all the merriment of the team’s five-game winning streak, it strikes me that pretty much the only thing we should be concerning ourselves with is the return of a healthy Chandler. Because yeah, it’s been nice to see J.R. attacking the basket, and sure, Kenyon Martin has been a most pleasant surprise, but none of that is going to mean much of a hill of beans if the Knicks enter the postseason with anything other than a fully functioning Tyson Chandler.

I guess I still find it a bit odd that this is somehow all “up to Chandler,” as it seems he’s had enough on his plate in diagnosing opposing offenses, without asking him to diagnose his own injuries, as well. But I assume that statement mostly to mean the training staff is not particularly worried by the severity of the injury and the matter more comes down to when Chandler can comfortably resume playing. I mean, I guess, right? I hope it’s not just a bunch of hopeless men in doctors coats looking at him blankly and going, “Well, we really have no idea. But what do YOU think it is?”

The Knicks have done much to return the grins to our faces following that wholly disheartening west coast debacle, but it would also certainly be most welcome news to have this whole unpleasant affair quickly put to rest. Be well, Tyson. Sweet Moses, please be well.

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