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Wednesday, February 12, 2014
J.R. Smith out due to ill-fitting mask

By Ian Begley

J.R. Smith was forced to sit out of Wednesday’s game against the Sacramento Kings because of an ill-fitting protective face-mask.

Smith was expected to play against Sacramento after suffering a fractured bone in his left cheek on Sunday. He was being fitted for a mask on Tuesday but when he received the mask on Wednesday he said it didn’t fit properly.

“It’s just a little uncomfortable,” Smith said. “Gotta get it a little more fitted to my face, and just go from there.”

Smith said he didn’t want to risk playing without the mask because doctors informed him that he could suffer blindness in his left eye if hit there again.

“I’ll wait it out and hopefully it heals more within the next week we got, and I’ll get more comfortable wearing the mask,” Smith said.

Smith expects to return to the court after the All Star break when the Knicks play at Memphis on Tuesday.

He says he may have to wear the mask for 4-5 weeks.

The reigning Sixth Man award winner has been an integral part of the Knicks’ offense of late.

Smith had an off game against Oklahoma City (3-for-10, six points). But in the 11 games prior, he had averaged 18.2 points on 46 percent shooting.