It sounds like Tim Hardaway Jr. is suffering from plantar fasciitis in his left foot – an ailment that has derailed entire seasons in the NBA — but he opted Monday to play through the pain.
Cautioning that he wasn’t a doctor, coach Jeff Hornacek said Hardaway’s injury “is probably similar” to plantar fasciitis given its symptoms. He also understands that the pain could get worse for New York’s $ 71 million investment.
“We’ll have to see. I’ll see how he responds after playing (Monday), after having a couple days off,” Hornacek said. “Hopefully he gets through the game and comes in tomorrow and says, ‘Oh yeah, okay, it didn’t get worse. It might be getting a little better.’ We just have to play that by ear.”
Hardaway Jr., who sat out Sunday’s practice, said he first felt the pain after waking up Thursday morning, without an explanation. It prompted Hardaway Jr. to pull himself from Friday’s loss to the Raptors after scoring just 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
He initially said the soreness is coming from the bottom of his foot, a telling sign of plantar fasciitis. The 25-year-old declined to comment Monday after walking into the locker room with his heel wrapped in kinesiotape.
As his teammate Lance Thomas can attest, plantar fasciitis can progress to debilitating. The injury — which can only be cured with rest — sabotaged Thomas’ 2016-17 campaign.
Tim Hardaway Jr. will reportedly play against the Clippers despite dealing with a sore foot.
(Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)
“It could help (Hardaway Jr.) if he rests it,” Hornacek said. “But Tim wants to play. He’s a tough kid. He’s a competitor. He feels that he’s got enough for us that he can go.”
Hardaway Jr. has been an important piece to the Knicks’ surprising start to the season, serving as the closest thing to Kristaps Porzingis’ sidekick. Going into Monday, he scored at least 20 points in six of the opening 15 games.
Much of his success had been predicated on his explosiveness in the open court, which could be hindered by the foot ailment. Still, he opted to risk it.
“Me continuing to play on it, it got worse. Just not really taking it serious,” Hardaway said Sunday after being limited in practice. “I’m thinking, ‘I’m strong enough, I’m able enough to go out there and compete, so I don’t feel nothing as bad, so no need for me to get it right.’ But it got worse and worse, and once I started feeling it after the Utah game, that next morning when I came back to practice, that’s when I let them know that it was bothering me. And I’ve never had it before. This is the first time for me. So it’s different.”