Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Knicks [Print without images]

Monday, March 31, 2014
Hardaway Jr. sprains ankle vs. Jazz

By Ian Begley

Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. suffered a sprained ankle in the fourth quarter of the team's win over Utah on Monday.

Hardaway appeared to land awkwardly on his right foot late in the fourth and hobbled off the floor.

X-rays came back negative and Hardaway Jr. was diagnosed with an ankle sprain, according to the team.

The rookie's availability for New York's game Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets is unclear at this point.

Hardaway has been a key piece for the Knicks this season, providing a strong presence on the perimeter.

He averaged 11.8 points on 44 percent shooting in the Knicks' previous 13 games. He had 10 points in the win over Utah.

The Knicks are in the midst of a tight race with the Hawks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, so Hardaway's availability is of the utmost importance.

New York is one game back of Atlanta with seven games to play. All seven of the Knicks' games are against teams over .500. Atlanta has nine games left. Only four of those games are against teams over .500.

The Knicks trail the Hawks by two in the loss column. Atlanta also owns the tie-breaker with the Knicks by virtue of its record against conference opponents.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.