J.R. Smith's face is banged up: A mask is needed
FEB 11, 2014 8:11p ET
J.R. Smith can thank Kevin Durant's knee to the face on Sunday night for the protective mask he'll have to be wearing while his fractured cheekbone heals. The Knicks took the loss to the Thunder 112-100, but somehow they are only two games out of being the final seed in the playoffs.
Smith was just starting to heat up and play some good basketball, too. In his past five games, he's been shooting above 60 percent from the field while averaging 17.6 points a game, and nailing 43.8 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
Now is not the time for Smith to be on the bench if he's playing this kind of ball. Luckily his injury isn't too severe.
"He will play. He's getting fitted for a mask and has to protect his eye," Knicks coach Mike Woodson told the NY Daily News. "We've had our fair share of injuries. The fact he says he can still play, so he won't miss a game, that's good. We're just hoping he can play well with the mask he wears."
With Smith coming off such a slow start this season -- averaging only 13 points and shooting not even close to the league average -- the Knicks need the new J.R. Hopefully that mask doesn't get in the way of his progress.