Tim Hardaway Jr. approaching return for New York Knicks
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Tim Hardaway Jr. has missed the New York Knicks’ last 19 games with a lower left leg injury, but all reports indicate that he is closing in on a return date. Although the Knicks have not established a firm timetable for the guard’s return to the court, he is taking part in full contact practices.

Hardaway said that he has not experienced any setbacks, meaning that the Knicks could receive a big boost as they try to hunt for a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

“It feels great,” Hardaway told Newsday after practice. “I’m just happy to be back, to get up and down with the guys, get some of those competitive juices flowing.”

Hardaway inked a 4-year, $71 million contract in the offseason. Even though the deal seemed quite rich at the time, the Knicks wanted to pay for Hardaway’s future–as opposed to past accomplishments that would indicate a downturn sooner rather than later.

The stress reaction in Hardaway’s left leg has limited him to 21 games, but the Knicks are still fighting for a playoff spot. He is one of the Knicks’ best shooters from distance, and his perimeter defense has improved year after year.

Hardaway figures to return to the lineup on the road, as a favorable early schedule had the Knicks playing most of their games at Madison Square Garden. The team is just 4-14 on the road, and one of those wins came against the Brooklyn Nets–who play in the same town.

The Knicks will look to inch closer to the eighth seed when they take on the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night in New York City. Keep it here on AXS.com for more NBA news and tickets to select games.