HOUSTON — The Knicks now have four players in COVID-19 protocols — and broadcaster Walt Frazier — as Kevin Knox joined the group Thursday morning as they prepared to face the Rockets.
With Obi Toppin, RJ Barrett, Quentin Grimes already testing positive for COVID-19, Knox had been dusted off the bench as a key contributor the past two games, averaging 14 points. Now he’s out, too, meaning the Knicks’ last four first-round picks — three of them lottery selections — are all sidelined due to COVID.
The Knicks’ COVID-19 outbreak occurred after they returned from Toronto last weekend. The Knicks are not holding their usual morning shootaround in Houston Thursday out of precaution, per NBA guidance.
The outbreak occurs while the Knicks are reeling from the Kemba Walker demotion — 1-7 in their last eight games.
Knox’s removal could finally sway Tom Thibodeau to play Walker, who has been a DNP-CD the past eight games. However, Knox has been playing more power forward to fill in for Toppin and Thibodeau could put Taj Gibson into the rotation.
The Rockets are on a back-to-back as they got shellacked in Cleveland Wednesday night during which their coach Stephen Silas left the game early. The team said he had dehydration and it’s unclear if he will coach Thursday’s game.
Grimes missed the Warriors loss and will not be here for his homecoming after leading the University of Houston to the Final Four last season.
The four Knicks in protocol need two negative tests 24 hours apart to be cleared to return.
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