Tyson Chandler spent Friday battling flu-like symptoms and may not be able to play in the New York Knicks' Game 1 against the Miami Heat as the 2012 NBA Playoffs open on Saturday. According to Newsday's Al Iannazzone, Knicks coach Mike Woodson said there's a "strong possibility" that the center will have to sit. Even if he does play, he may be in a weakened state. He spent Friday in the team hotel receiving fluids, and apparently wore a surgical mask on the team's flight from Charlotte to Miami to prevent the spread of germs to teammates.
The loss of Chandler would obviously be huge for the Knicks. The center is the anchor of New York's surprisingly good defense. One could argue that Chandler is the only consistent plus defender in the team's starting five. He also has strong experience cutting off penetration by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, the strongest point of Miami's offense. Chandler starred in the Dallas Mavericks' NBA Finals win over Miami a year ago.
Game 1 is slated for 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.