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Knicks’ Obi Toppin remains out with leg injury, but has ‘been progressing’

Knicks forward Obi Toppin dunks over Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero.
Knicks forward Obi Toppin dunks the ball.
AP Photo/John Munson

Knicks forward Obi Toppin will need more time with his leg rehab before returning to action, he said on Tuesday. 

“We’ve been progressing, getting better. But there isn’t a timetable on when I’ll be back,” he said according to the New York Post

Toppin suffered a fractured bone in his right fibula earlier this month, and optimistic projections had him heading back to the court by the end of the year. 

Now, though, it appears that he will need to wait longer for the Knicks medical staff to clear him for games. 

“Whenever they say the time is ready to be back, that’s when I’ll be back,” the 24-year-old said.

Lower-leg injuries for NBA players similar to Toppin’s can take anywhere from three weeks-to-two months

He has been doing minor workouts, mostly focusing on non-contact play and upper-body strengthening, but his leg is still not ready for the grind of playing in the pros. 

This year, Toppin appeared in the first 25 games of the Knicks season, and averaged 7.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1 assist per contest. 

He’s missed the last nine games due to injury. 

New York won the first six games with Toppin out during a nine game winning streak, but have fallen in recent weeks, and dropped the previous three matchups heading into Tuesday night’s game in Dallas against the Mavericks. 

When he’s been healthy, Toppin has been relegated to the bench behind starting power forward Julius Randle, as he has throughout his three-year NBA career. 

He’s played 17.1 minutes-per-game when healthy this season, compared with Randle’s 34.2

Despite that, the Brooklyn native, who the Knicks drafted eighth overall in 2020, Toppin has improved in several significant ways. 

His 35.1% clip from the three point line on 3.9 attempts per game are both career highs, and he’s shown better skills as a defender and a ball handler. 

Likewise, he’s managed to make 82.4% of his free throws this year, which is also the best he’s shown in his three professional years. 

But his leg injury has devastated the young big man, as he’s relied on his quickness and explosive drives to the rim to be productive in the NBA. 

His athleticism was put on full display last year, when Toppin was crowded with a victory in the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest. 

Now, he doesn’t appear optimistic about his chances to defend his title in mid-February.  

“I don’t know about that one yet,” he said.

For more coverage of Obi Toppin and the Knicks, head to amNY.com.

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