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When I saw that Kurt Thomas was going to play in last night's game against the Utah Jazz, I was dumbfounded. Thomas had gone down with a visible injury (to be fair, what Knicks player hasn't recently?) just the day before against the Los Angeles Clippers, and he was diagnosed with a bone spur in his right foot. I figured playing on it would only aggravate the injury further and potentially put him at risk for a more serious injury. With the state of the Knicks' roster (already down Melo, Amar'e and Chandler), this seemed like an idea destined to do down in flames.
Nevertheless, Thomas suited up and played 27 minutes for the Knicks last night in their 90-83. But, it turns out those fears were confirmed today by New York Daily News writer Frank Isola who tweeted the following:
Breaking: An MRI reveals Kurt Thomas has a stress reaction/stress fracture of his right foot, a person close to Thomas tells the Daily News.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) March 19, 2013
You know who else has a stress fracture in his foot? Rasheed Wallace. And we all know what happened to Rasheed Wallace.
But Thomas didn't go down in vain. He played some of his most inspired basketball of the season. Yes, he only scored six points and grabbed three boards, but Thomas also blocked three shots and altered several others. He played intimidating, mean interior defense against a formidable Utah frontline. He was even jawing with the Utah fans all night.
Thomas didn't need to do anything more to endear himself to Knicks fans. If you watched Thomas during his first tenure with the Knicks, you knew that he was a blue collar guy that did whatever it took to get the job done.
That's exactly what Thomas did last night. The Knicks were shorthanded and really couldn't afford to lose another front court player, let alone another game on what had been a disastrous road trip. So even though he had a bone spur, Thomas gritted out 27 tough minutes. He hobbled noticeably up and down the court, but still gave 27 minutes that led to a big Knicks win. Even though it wasn't the most skillful effort, Thomas put the team first. This will effectively be the last time we see Thomas on the court this year (and maybe ever if he can't recover. He is the oldest player in the league, after all), and if it is, that's definitely one hell of a way to go out.
To paraphrase Gotham City's great police commissioner James Gordon: “Kurt Thomas is the basketball player the Knicks deserve, but not the one they need right now. So we'll play him, because he can take it. Because he's not our superstar. He's a silent enforcer. A watchful veteran. A New York Knick.”