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Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. progressing in rehab, but won't be ready before Christmas

New York Knicks starting shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. has been cleared to progress in the rehab of his leg injury following an examination Tuesday by the club's medical staff.

The team announced that Hardaway Jr.'s stress injury in his left leg will be re-evaluated in a week and that he can continue his progress and court activity. So Hardaway Jr. will be sidelined until Dec. 26 at the earliest, meaning he will miss the Knicks' Christmas Day game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

As of Monday, Hardaway Jr. hadn't been cleared to run or jump, which will be a significant hurdle in his rehab from the stress injury.

The specific nature of Hardaway Jr.'s injury is unclear, though Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek has said the injury is in Hardaway Jr.'s shin. If Hardaway Jr. has a stress reaction, he could be eligible to return before the end of the month. If Hardaway Jr. has a stress fracture, he may be sidelined for several weeks following the next re-evaluation.

Hardaway Jr. hasn't played since Dec. 3. His absence is significant for a Knicks team that had come to rely on his production. After a slow start, Hardaway had started to excel in Hornacek's offense, averaging 17.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.

With Hardaway Jr. out, Courtney Lee has moved to the starting shooting guard position and Lance Thomas has started at small forward. The Knicks (16-14) are 5-4 without Hardaway Jr.

In other injury news, Kristaps Porzingis' availability for Thursday's game against the Boston Celtics is unclear. Porzingis has missed the Knicks' past two games due to lingering soreness in his left knee. The injury is not believed to be serious, but New York's medical staff is taking a cautious approach with Porzingis, who's averaging 25.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game in 24 contests this season.