Knicks star Jalen Brunson is out with a left knee injury

CLEVELAND – New York Knicks star Jalen Brunson injured his left knee in the opening minute of Sunday's 107-98 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers and did not return.

The Knicks called the injury a “sore left knee” and initially said Brunson was “questionable” to return, then ruled him out after halftime. The incident certainly did not bode well for the New York All-Star.

On the Knicks' first possession, Brunson lofted a jump shot from the left wing toward the foul line, kicking out with both feet on the way up. Brunson was clutching his knee before landing, and there was no apparent contact by Cavs defender Isaac Okoro to indicate the injury. He bounced a few times before falling on the court and was taken to the locker room with 11:13 left in the first quarter.

A possible cause of the injury occurred seconds before Brunson went down when he wrapped around a screen by teammate Isaiah Hardenstein and accidentally crashed his knees into center. But Brunson finished around the screen, caught the ball and moved before taking a knee in midair.

Brunson, 27, a first-time All-Star this season, averaged 27.7 points and 6.7 assists — both career highs. Myles McBride took over for Brunson and finished with 16 points and five assists in 47 minutes. Brunson owns the only minute he didn't play in this game. Donte DiVincenzo led the depleted Knicks with 28 points and six 3-pointers, while Josh Hart had a triple-double with 13 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists. The Knicks are fourth in the East.

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This rematch of last year's first-round playoff series between the Cavs and Knicks has already lost some serious luster, with the Knicks missing Julius Randle, OG Anunoby and Mitchell Robinson — rehabbing major injuries — and Cleveland without Donovan Mitchell and Carys LeVert. Due to minor injuries.

The Cavs, who fell to 3-4 after the All-Star break and fell out of second place with the loss, got 21 points off the bench from Sam Merrill. Darius Garland finished with 19 points and Jared Allen had 18 points.

Especially lately, the injury bug has bitten the Knicks. Hardenstein came in and out of the lineup with Achilles tendinopathy. Brunson missed one game Tuesday because of a neck spasm.

Randle, an All-Star, has been out since Jan. 29 with a dislocated right shoulder. He and Robinson (since Dec. 11 – ankle surgery) both made the trip to Cleveland with the Knicks, and Randle worked out on the court again Sunday morning and before the game.

“He's making really good progress, so we're hoping that happens soon,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said of Randle. “You've got to make sure that medically the doctors feel good about it; he feels good about it. And then once that happens – he does everything. He's had some small interactions, but nothing with a player yet. So it's going to be the next step.”

This story will be updated.

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(Photo: Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images)

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