New York Knicks: Breaking Down the Impact of Rasheed Wallace's Injury Setback

Ciaran GowanContributor IIIFebruary 28, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 02:  Rasheed Wallace #36 of the New York Knicks leaves the court after his second technical foul and ejection in the game against the Phoenix Suns at Madison Square Garden on December 2, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. The Knicks defeated the Suns 106-99. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Rasheed Wallace's left foot injury has been a mystery for some time now, but finally we have an update—and it's not good news for the New York Knicks.

According to the following tweet from Nate Taylor of The New York Times, Wallace will need surgery on the foot, and the recovery time will be eight weeks:

ESPN's report of the injury states that Wallace has fractured his fifth metatarsal, which was a "progression" from the initial stress reaction in the foot.

The essential takeaway here is that Sheed will be out for the rest of the regular season, and the team will be hoping he can make it back for the playoffs.

In the meantime, as they've had to for the last two months, the Knicks' second unit will need to survive without Wallace, which will be aided tremendously by the addition of Kenyon Martin.

Martin is still not quite in game shape, but when he's ready he can be a similar type of player on the defensive end. He's fiery, smart and a great communicator on that end of the floor, which is what the Knicks have really been missing in Sheed's absence.

Sheed may not be the team's most important player, but it's still significant that the Knicks went 16-4 with him in the lineup. He's the type of player who does the little things that make a big difference from game to game.

Though there's no guarantee that Wallace will play another game for them, the Knicks don't appear ready to give up on him just yet. Taylor also tweeted yesterday that the team will keep him on the roster as it's possible he could play in the playoffs.

Even if things go to plan, and Wallace is back after the expected eight weeks, the Knicks still will have started their postseason campaign without him. Once you factor in his age and the fact that he was barely in shape in the first place, it certainly seems questionable that the team is so strongly against cutting him.

It could be a case of Mike Woodson feeling he owes it to Wallace to give him a chance to recover, especially since he was the one who convinced him to lace up those Air Force 1's again.

What's more questionable, however, is the fact that it took until late February for the Knicks to find out the extent of his injury. Had surgery been performed two months ago when Wallace stopped playing, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

It's not the first time that the Knicks have been suspect on the injury front, either. Marcus Camby has been out much longer than expected, and Amar'e Stoudemire's injury before the season was also handled poorly.

As you may remember, STAT was diagnosed with a ruptured popliteal cyst back in October, and was expected only to miss two to three weeks with the injury.

Upon going to Dr. Thomas Carter of the Phoenix Suns for a second opinion, however, it turned out Stoudemire needed a debridement. Instead, he missed eight weeks of the season.

Had Stoudemire not gone back to his former doctor, who knows how bad the situation could have ended up?

Going back to Wallace, though, things are certainly not looking good. If he does manage to make it back for the playoffs, he will make an impact, but right now the Knicks have to be happy they pulled the trigger on bringing in K-Mart.