Knicks’ Jalen Brunson injures ankle in garbage time vs. Celtics – cnn hollywood

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BOSTON — The Celtics emptied their bench. Tom Thibodeau did not.

It’s the difference between leaving the TD Garden unscathed and potentially returning to New York down the team’s floor general and head of the offensive snake.

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When given an opportunity to sit his starters in garbage time while Celtics’ coach Joe Mazzulla cleared the bench up double digits with 38 seconds left in the fourth quarter of the Knicks’ 133-123 loss on Friday, Thibodeau chose not to.

Now Jalen Brunson is hurt.

Asked if he has any regrets, Thibodeau flatly said “nope.”

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Brunson significantly turned his ankle on a freak play while Celtics guard Derrick White shot a free throw with just 21 seconds left on the game clock.

Seventeen seconds of gameplay earlier, Mazzulla took Al Horford, Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday out of the game, then subbed Jayson Tatum out while White, the final starter, was at the foul line.

And after White made the free throw, with his sub waiting to check-in on the sideline, Brunson accidentally stepped on backup guard Payton Pritchard’s foot and drastically twisted his ankle before hobbling to the sidelines.

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Then he buried his head in a towel while sitting on the bench.

He was unavailable to speak to reporters after the game.

Thibodeau offered no additional update on Brunson’s status and said he hadn’t yet talked to team trainers about his star guard’s injury.

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This is one of Thibodeau’s specialties. He plays his starters late in games, even if they’re down big.

But it came back to bite the Knicks on Friday, and it’s unclear if the starting guard will miss some time with the injury.

Julius Randle turned his back to the play while attempting to inbound the ball when Brunson came up hobbling.

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The Knicks’ next game is at home on Monday against the Toronto Raptors, so they’ll have two-and-a-half days to determine his status for their next game.

“I didn’t see what happened to be honest with you, but hopefully he’ll be fine,” he said. “We’ve got a couple days off, so we’ll see. Right now I don’t know anything. Just trying to recover from the game and reset. We’ll figure it out.”

RJ Barrett had a situation similar to Brunson’s playing under Thibodeau two years ago.

Thibodeau left Barrett on the floor in the final minute of a blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets in Feb. 2022, and Barrett — like Brunson — twisted his ankle before leaving the game and walking to the locker room.

He was forced to sit four games and missed a little over a week.

“I didn’t see what happened with [Jalen],” Barrett said. “Then even mine, I remember mine was a little freak play, my foot just got caught, tangled.”

Like Randle, Barrett didn’t see Brunson’s injury because he was running up court after the made free throw.

“That’s what happened with him? I didn’t see it,” he said. “Those things happen. It could have happened in the first quarter. Ended up happening at that time.”

Donte DiVincenzo was up court with Barrett and also missed Brunson’s injury. DiVincenzo has faith Brunson will return to good health soon.

“I know him from college and everything. He’s a warrior. So we’ll see what happens. We have a couple days. We’ll get back to New York and hopefully everything is all good.”

It was an unnecessary injury, however, given the deficit and time remaining, and now Brunson could miss time — because his coach played him in meaningless seconds.

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