New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith is still dealing with discomfort in his surgically repaired left knee, and he may not reach 100 percent health all year, head coach Mike Woodson said Thursday in an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show."
Smith had surgery on his left knee in July to repair his left patellar tendon and lateral meniscus. Just a week before, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year had inked a three-year, $18 million deal to return to New York. The surgery kept Smith out for most of training camp.
Smith has really struggled to start the year, averaging 11.1 points while shooting 34.4 percent overall and 33.7 percent from three. Woodson believes the knee is a big reason for the poor start:
"I still don't think he's 100 percent, don't know if he'll ever be this season based on the surgery he had," Woodson told Smith and Ruocco. " ... I've still got to be patient with him."
That's certainly not good news for a Knicks team trying to get back in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference playoff race after a disastrous start.
What is good news is the fact that Tyson Chandler is set to take contact in practice this weekend and could possibly return from a broken leg on Monday against the Washington Wizards. The Knicks are hoping the return of Chandler will stabilize a defense that ranks 27th in the NBA in defensive rating.