Tyson Chandler injury: Knicks center might return Wednesday

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks big man Tyson Chandler is nearing his long-awaited return and there will be lots on his shoulders when he comes back.

New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler should be back in the lineup before the end of the week. Chandler, who broke his left fibula on Nov. 5, was initially ruled out for four to six weeks, so he is right on schedule. He might play as soon as Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post:

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Chandler, as of Monday morning, has not ruled out returning Wednesday in Milwaukee. Chandler is supposed to be reevaluated Monday and must be cleared by the medical staff. The next game after Milwaukee is not until Saturday against Memphis - that appears the latest he would be back.

The news means New York fans are jumping for joy. If you didn't already think of Chandler as the Knicks' most irreplaceable player, the last six weeks should have confirmed it. New York is 7-16 on the season, thanks mostly to a woeful defense that ranks 27th in the NBA, per Basketball-Reference.

Without Chandler in the lineup, the Knicks have counted on Andrea Bargnani to play significant minutes in the middle. Bargnani has averaged a respectable 15 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, but New York has surrendered 109 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor, per Basketball-Reference, the same number the Toronto Raptors gave up with Bargnani out there last season.

Knicks head coach Mike Woodson has continually lamented his lack of a "full deck" as his team has struggled this season. Once Chandler gets back in rhythm, there will be an expectation that New York will turn things around.

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