If the New York Knicks and their fans were not panicking after losing their third game in a row (to the Al Jefferson-less Charlotte Bobcats), they certainly are now.

ESPN’s Ian Begley reports that Knicks center Tyson Chandler will miss four-to-six weeks with a non-displaced fracture of his right fibula. The injury took place during a collision with Bobcats point guard Kemba Walker in the first quarter of New York's game with Charlotte. Chandler left the court and was ruled out for the rest of the game.

The injury could not come at a worse time for the Knicks.

They are struggling with lineups and chemistry, especially in their front =court with the combination of Chandler, Carmelo Anthony and new acquisition, power forward Andrea Bargnani. Now they will be without one of the premier defensive big men in the league.

With Chandler out and never really recovering through the postseason last year, the Knicks were no match for the Indiana Pacers during the second round of last season's NBA Playoffs.  Now without him for an extended period of time to start the 2013-14 regular season, the alarms might be going off at Madison Square Garden.

New York has suspect depth behind Chandler. Amar'e Stoudemire is currently limited to 10 minutes a game, and has looked nothing like the superstar of yesteryear. Kenyon Martin too cannot be depended on to play big minutes on a daily basis. Reserve Cole Aldrich figures to pick up some minutes here and there, but he is far from an answer as well.

The Knicks could cut 15th man Chris Smith and add more size, but Jeremy Tyler, who was part of the training camp team, has yet to recover from injury himself. So the Knicks will have to go small and will be looking more forward than ever to JR Smith’s return from suspension this weekend.

Now devoid of their best defensive option on a below-average defensive team, the Knicks will have to outscore their opponents more than ever. Without Smith, the Knicks rank towards the bottom of NBA right now in scoring, with only 92 a game. That is good for only 26th in the league.

Things are going to have to change in a hurry at The Garden, or this could be a very long and painful 4-6 weeks without Chandler.

By B. Spiegel


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