Fisher not letting Early off the hook for injury-plagued season

Written By kom nampuldu on Kamis, 09 April 2015 | 20.49

Coach Derek Fisher said Cleanthony Early's ankle issues have occurred often enough that it appears to be a chronic condition and he said the Knicks rookie has to focus more on preparation in trying to prevent such injuries.

Early missed his second straight game Wednesday with a sprained left ankle as the Knicks lost, 102-86, to the Pacers at the Garden. It's the third time this season Early has missed a game because of an ankle sprain, and Fisher said the ankle woes date to when Early was in college at Wichita State.

Fisher talked about the prep work he would like Early to do more of to keep him from getting re-injured. Early will be back either Friday or Saturday.

"You turn an ankle once, things change. I don't know if you ever get 100 percent,'' Fisher said. "The chances of it happening again is more likely the more you do it. That's why you have to remain diligent and a lot of the correctives you need to do before practice and before activity to offset and stabilize. … I think he even had ankle injuries in college. So we have enough signs at this point that we need to look at things differently in addressing his ankle.''

Early, Phil Jackson's first draft pick as Knicks president, had knee surgery for loose cartilage in late November, igniting his bad-luck rookie year. Early fell to the second round (34th pick) in the draft, but there was no sign he could have been damaged goods.

"You can't control if you step on someone's foot and turn an ankle, but there are a ton of things can be done to offset some injuries that naturally take place,'' Fisher said. "We just have to hold him accountable to it. That's why we ask them to be here in a certain time in the morning to prepare their bodies to perform. Young players sometimes struggle with that.''

According to a source, the Knicks had concerns earlier in the season about Early's conditioning when he returned from a six-week absence after knee surgery and was sent to the D-League for two games.


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