Tyson Chandler to miss 4-6 weeks with small fracture in leg
The bright spots on defense for the Knicks include Woodson (as mentioned before), and Iman Shumpert, one of the better on-ball perimeter defenders in the NBA. Kenyon Martin certainly has some nice moments, but faces minute restrictions due to his age and balky knees. The biggest key to the Knicks' success on the defensive end, however, is former Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler.
Going down with an apparent knee injury after being tumbled into by Kemba Walker on Tuesday night, Chandler had Knicks fans fearing the worst as he limped off the court. The good news is that he has avoided a devastating, season-ending injury, but Chandler has been diagnosed with a small fracture in his fibula that will sideline him for 4-6 weeks.
Without Chandler, the Knicks' defense could end up being abysmal. The only other big man on the roster who is competent on the defensive end is Kenyon Martin, who as I said before is on a minutes restriction. It was even thought that he would alternate games with fellow injury-prone big Amar'e Stoudemire, but Woodson now may have to play Martin regularly with Chandler sidelined.
Metta World Peace will likely have to guard bigger players more frequently in the absence of Chandler, and the Knicks may even have to give Cole Aldrich - who has logged just 703 minutes during his three-year career - some run at center.
Chandler's absence will also put much more pressure on Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani to be at least somewhat serviceable on the defensive end. These are two of the softest big men in the NBA, so I personally don't have the highest of hopes for them.
Chandler has also been the Knicks' leading rebounder in each of his two full seasons with the team. The Knicks were smashed on the boards against a Bobcats team that didn't even have their starting center on Tuesday night, so the lack of rebounding without Chandler is obviously a concern.
Despite their awful start, the Knicks should still make the playoffs fairly easily, and their biggest concern is being healthy for the postseason. Chandler will be missed dearly for the next 4-6 weeks, but the Knicks should still be able to pull out a decent amount of wins and not dig themselves in too deep of a hole. Constantly battling nagging injuries, Chandler is going to need to stay healthy when he returns to action. We'll see just how important he is to this defense over the next month or so.