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The dangers of life as a dad cost the Knicks their most consistent player for two games.
Marcus Morris is expected to return Thursday night against the Nuggets after missing back-to-back games because of cervical spasms. The culprit for his neck injury?
“You know, it’s funny. My son jumped on me early in the morning. And I tried to get up at the same time and it was just bad,” Morris said Wednesday after going through a full practice. “He just surprised me that morning and got me good, he got me real good.”
Then Morris played in the Knicks’ game Friday night against the 76ers, a physical battle that worsened his condition. He was held out of Sunday’s loss to the Celtics and Monday’s blowout loss to the Bucks as the Knicks’ losing streak slumped to seven games.
Morris said he has been getting two to three massages per day to get the knots out of neck, but now that he’s good, his one-year-old son, Marcus Morris Jr., can continue to jump on him in bed.
“I’ve just got to be ready,” Morris said.
Enlarge ImageMarcus Morris
Marcus MorrisRobert Sabo
For the first time since the third game of the season, the Knicks could be whole again Thursday night. In addition to Morris, they hope to get back point guards Frank Ntilikina and Elfrid Payton.
Payton has missed the last 17 games because of a hamstring strain. After coming off the bench in the season opener, he started three straight games at point guard before the injury knocked him out. Now, the veteran will be eased back in.
“He looked good in practice,” coach David Fizdale said. “Obviously it gives us another floor general. He gives us speed, something we really obviously need. He gives us a guy that can make plays for others and get us some easy shots. Defensively, he gives us a guy that can pressure the ball.”
Ntilikina has played well since taking over as the starting point guard, but he missed Monday’s loss to the Bucks because of a sore upper back. He was the only one who did not practice fully on Wednesday and is listed as questionable (as is Payton), so Fizdale declined to name his starting point guard. But he has a rotation to figure out with Ntilikina, Payton and Dennis Smith Jr.
“I’ll probably play some of them together,” Fizdale said.