Isaiah Hartenstein’s X-ray negative as Knicks can’t afford another injury



INDIANAPOLIS — Already down four front-court players, Isaiah Hartenstein attempted to gut through the Knicks’ series-tying blowout loss to the Pacers with what clearly was a painful left-shoulder issue. 

The Knicks’ starting center crashed hard to the floor after scoring on a drive midway through the second quarter.

Despite postgame X-rays coming back negative, he still visibly was having trouble lifting his arm above his head at halftime of the 121-89 crushing by the Pacers that sent the series back to New York tied 2-2 for Game 5 on Tuesday night at the Garden. 

Isaiah Hartenstein injured his shoulder during the Knicks’ Game 4 loss to the Pacers on May 12, 2024. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“The X-ray came back cool, so probably just like a [pinched] nerve thing,” Hartenstein said after the game. “The hand kind of gets numb sometimes, but I’ll be good. … It’s a pinched nerve where it kind of fell asleep at times, but it’s fine. 

“It’s just, like, small. I guess it’s something that we can fix easy. Everyone’s playing through a lot of stuff, so I’ll be fine.” 

Hartenstein appeared to take hard contact from Aaron Nesmith soon after sustaining the injury, but he said that’s “playoff basketball and it’s gonna happen.” 

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He exited the game with 6:54 left in the third quarter, and Tom Thibodeau didn’t use him again with the Knicks trailing by as many as 43. 

The Knicks already are without Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic for the rest of the playoffs with injuries, and forward OG Anunoby has missed the past two games with a hamstring issue

Asked if heavy minutes and short rotations are starting to catch up with the Knicks, Hartensein said “it’s not really an excuse at this point.” 

Isaiah Hartenstein
Isaiah Hartenstein injured his shoulder during the Knicks’ Game 4 loss to the Pacers on May 12, 2024. AP

“I think everyone’s kind of going through something, I think you just have to find a way,” he said. “That’s kind of what they probably did a lot better than us these last two games. They just played more physical and with more urgency, kind of what we did more at home. I think that’s just kind of what we have to get back to. 

“I feel like we’ve played so many games plus the playoff games, that you’re gonna be tired, but it’s not an excuse. I think we have to kind of dig deep and get back to how we play. That’s being physical and doing the little things that I don’t think we’ve been doing.”

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