Obi Toppin of the NY Knicks is out 2-3 weeks with a knee injury

Published on: December 9, 2022, 12:17 p.m.

Last updated: December 9, 2022, 01:10.

New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin, the 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk champion, will miss at least two to three weeks with a fractured patella.

Obi Toppin Knicks knee patella injury
New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin makes a move on Atlanta Hawks swingman Justin Holiday shortly before his knee injury at Madison Square Garden. (Image: Getty)

Toppin suffered a right patellar injury during the Knicks’ win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. He scored three points in eight minutes of action, but exited the game early and never returned.

On Thursday, team doctors diagnosed Toppin with a non-displaced fracture of the head of his right fibula.

The Knicks have won two straight to improve to 12-13 this season as the last-place team in the Atlantic Division. If the season ended today, the Knicks could qualify for the Eastern Conference play-in tournament as the ninth seed.

The Knicks are long shots to win the 2022-23 NBA championship at odds of +30,000, according to DraftKings. In the Atlantic Division odds, the Knicks are +25000 to win the division for the first time since 2012-13.

Fan favorite Toppin out 2022

Toppin is a valuable member of the Knicks’ high-energy second unit, along with Immanuel Quickley, who at times has played significantly better than the starting five. Much to the dismay of the loyal fans at Madison Square Garden. Toppin grew up in Brooklyn and played his high school ball in suburban Ossining, New York.

In 25 games off the bench this season, Toppin averaged 7.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. He worked on his 3-point shot in the offseason and improved to 35 percent from beyond the arc, compared to 30 percent in the first two seasons.

Last year, fans got to see what Toppin could do if he was the starting quarterback in place of Julius Randle. When Randle missed the final two weeks of the season with an injury, Toppin had the best stretch of his career, averaging 20.3 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 10 games as a starter.

The Knicks selected Toppin with the No. 8 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Toppin was an All-American at Dayton, averaging 20 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He was also named the Atlantic-10 Player of the Year in the 2019–20 season.

Toppin led Dayton to a 29-2 record and a No. 3 national ranking during his sophomore season. Dayton never had a chance to compete in a national championship after the NCAA canceled the 2020 March Madness tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last season, Toppin made a name for himself with his high-flying stunts during the 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest.

Desperate Thibs shuffling the pack

Last month, there was no shortage of rumors floating around Gotham City suggesting that the Knicks were on the verge of firing head coach Tom Thibodeau.

The Knicks embarked on a five-game road trip against the top teams in the Western Conference, assuming the team could return to New York without their head coach. With Thibodeau on the hot seat, the Knicks went 3-2 on that road trip and pulled even with a 9-9 record, saving Thibodeau’s job through the end of 2022.

The Knicks have struggled since the end of that Western swing, losing four of their next five games. Thibodeau shuffled his starting line-up and bench rotation to trigger the team. For the second December in a row, Thibodeau benched a starting backfielder. Last year, Kemba Walker was relegated to the end of the bench. This season, Thibodeau has targeted struggling shooting guard Evan Fournier (6.9 ppg). Quentin Grimes (6.8 ppg), who excelled for the Knicks during the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, replaced Fournier in the starting lineup.

Over the course of the last week, Cam Reddish (8.4 ppg) lost his rotation spot to the rarely used Miles McBride (1.8 ppg). Big man Jericho Sims (4.5 points, 4.6 rebounds) also saw his playing time diminish after falling to Thibodeau.

With Toppin out, there’s a chance Reddish or Sims will return to the rotation off the bench. Otherwise, starting small forward RJ Barrett could see more time with the second unit as a leadoff.

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