Opening Tip: Knicks cope without bigs?

Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: Can the Knicks survive in the postseason without a healthy contingent of big men?

The Knicks front line just keeps getting thinner.

Kenyon Martin is just the latest in a long line of Knick big men to go down. He suffered what Mike Woodson called a "severe" left ankle sprain in the fourth quarter of the Knicks win over the Wizards on Tuesday.

Tyson Chandler missed the game due to lingering pain in the bulging disk in his neck.

No one's quite sure when either player will be back in uniform.

On top of that, Rasheed Wallace (broken foot), Kurt Thomas (stress fracture/right foot) and Amar'e Stoudemire (knee) are all expected to miss at least the rest of the regular season.

It hasn't slowed the Knicks yet, though; the team has won an astounding 13 straight games.

But you have to wonder if the lack of front line depth will affect New York in the postseason.

The Knicks have struggled to rebound for most of the year. They entered play Tuesday with the 17th best rebounding rate (the percentage of missed shots rebounded) in the NBA.

Their defensive rebounding rate is strong (New York is tied for third with San Antonio) but they struggle on the offensive end.

That could hurt them in the postseason because it may limit their possessions and, by extension, their opportunities to shoot.

Just how it all plays out depends largely the Knicks' opponent.

The Nets (3rd), Bulls (9th) and Pacers (1st) all rank in the top 10 in the league in rebounding rate.

The Celtics (29th) and Heat (24th) both are below the Knicks in rebounding rate.

Also, Chandler and Martin could conceivably be 100 percent healthy by the postseason. So the front line may be much healthier than it was on Tuesday. But if it isn't, you have to wonder how that will affect the Knicks' playoff chances.

Question: Can the Knicks survive in the postseason without a healthy contingent of big men?

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