Tyson Chandler is “disappointed” with his injury but optimistic that he can return closer to four weeks than six.
“I’m hoping,” Chandler, who suffered a fractured right fibula in the loss to Charlotte, said Thursday at practice after walking in on crutches. “That’s what I’m hoping for. I’m hoping obviously for the shorter length rather than the long one.”
He added: “You know, I’m obviously disappointed I can’t be out there for my team but all things being said I think if it was going to be an injury at least it’s this one, not anything worse. Hopefully I can get back (in) a month or so.”
Chandler, the 2011-12 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, won’t travel with the team for Friday’s game in Charlotte.
During his time out, he said he plans to mentor Andrea Bargnani, who will likely start at center in Chandler’s place in a small-ball lineup.
“There’s nothing I can do,” Chandler said. “Now I just have to be here for my teammates, help Bargnani out with calls and try to help him get comfortable playing the five position. Like I said, I want my teammates to take this as a time to come together.”
The Knicks have a precedence of success in terms of playing without Chandler. They went 12-4 when he missed time last year with a bulging disc in his neck down.
“We won 12 games in a row at the end of the season,” said point guard Raymond Felton, who was actually off because it was 13 games . “Things can be done. We’ve got other guys who went through training camp, who went through practice and stuff with us that just got to step up. We’ve all got to step up. We’re going through a slump right now.”
Chandler injured his knee in the first quarter Tuesday during a collision with Charlotte point guard Kemba Walker.
Cole Aldrich, who may now see time backing up the center position, helped Chandler limp off to the locker room.
“I had an idea of what it was when I walked (off),” Chandler said. “But it was good news. I went in and (they) looked at it and saw that it was just the fracture and no ligament damage, because obviously when you get hit like that, the majority of the time, you get some ligament damage. So I’m thankful for that part.”
For now, Chandler can’t do much except sit and watch as his teammates try to recover from a 1-3 start.
“Yeah, they kind of put together my plan now,” he said. “Right now, it’s really just core and upper-body work and shortly I’ll be in a boot, and I’ll be able to walk and then from there eventually once the bone heals I’ll start back trying to do some conditioning.”
Adam Zagoria covers the New York Knicks and Big East hoops for NBA.com and SNY.tv. He also appears as a Big East Basketball Insider on SNY and 1050 ESPN Radio. You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog.