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Knicks G Tim Hardaway Jr. making progress, but return unclear

The New York Knicks say starting shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. has made "consistent progress" in the rehab of his leg injury, but it's still unclear when he will return to the court.

The team announced on Wednesday that Hardaway Jr. has increased his on-court activities, including jumping, and that the stress injury in his lower leg will be re-evaluated weekly. Hardaway Jr. has been sidelined since Dec. 3 with the ailment.

Tim Hardaway Jr is making progress with his leg injury, but his retrun is still undetermined Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports
Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek said on Monday that he expects Hardaway Jr. back at some point next month.

The specific nature of Hardaway Jr.'s injury is unclear, although Hornacek has said the injury is in Hardaway Jr.'s shin. If Hardaway Jr. has a stress reaction, he could be eligible to return early next month. If he has a stress fracture, the shooting guard may be sidelined for several weeks after the next re-evaluation.

In what could be taken as a sign of progress in his rehab, Hardaway Jr. has recently been shooting without wearing a protective boot. He'd worn the protective boot while shooting for the first few weeks after the injury.

"It's a good sign that he's doing that," Hornacek said Tuesday. "He's moving more every day."

Hardaway Jr.'s absence is significant for a Knicks team that had come to rely on his production. After a slow start, Hardaway had thrived in Hornacek's offense, averaging 17.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. The Knicks (17-16) are 6-6 in Hardaway Jr.'s absence and face a tough stretch in late December and January. Entering play Wednesday, 14 of the club's next 17 games are on the road; New York has lost 10 of its 12 games away from Madison Square Garden thus far.

Hornacek said he hopes to have Hardaway Jr. back at some point during the 17-game stretch.

Author: Ian Begley, ESPN

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