Knicks’ Obi Toppin set to return but will be ‘situational’

Obi Toppin, Julius Randle, Knicks
Feb 8, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) comes on for forward Obi Toppin (1) in the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks reserve forward Obi Toppin is all set to return after missing the last 13 games due to a non-displaced right fibula head fracture.

The Knicks announced less than two hours before Wednesday’s tip-off that Toppin along with Derrick Rose (contused left knee) are both available to play against the San Antonio Spurs.

However, New York coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters that both players would be situational for the time being. Their chances of playing are slim unless the game turns into a blowout.

Thibodeau added that Toppin has been cleared for contact but needs practice time to get back up to speed, per SNY’s Ian Begley.

Toppin sustained the injury against the Atlanta Hawks last Dec. 7. During his lengthy absence, the Knicks went 8-5 with Julius Randle playing much better than his All-Star season.

Rose, on the other hand, has played sporadically this season. He was initially benched when Thibodeau decided on a nine-man rotation. But recent injuries to Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett have opened up playing time for him until he joined them on the sidelines.

Brunson has since returned while Evan Fournier re-emerged from the end of the bench in Rose’s absence.

It’s more likely Thibodeau will stick to Fournier, who averaged¬†8.0 points and 2.7 rebounds off the bench, over the Knicks’ last three games.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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