Jonathan Bender broke his ring finger in the Knicks' game against the Sixers last night. According to Steve Adamek's Knick Knacks blog, Bender will have surgery on the finger on Monday, marking the end of a weird, wonderful season in New York.
Bender had a moment or two during his comeback with the Knicks after sitting out more than four calendar years because of the chronic knee issues that forced his retirement in Indiana.
But he probably didn’t show enough of them to get another contract to continue that comeback next season, although you can see Donnie Walsh inviting him to camp as a favor next October if another team doesn’t.
Still, the guy was a class act during his time with the Knicks and someone who (albeit as a business) done some solid things in his native New Orleans area in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. One thinks if this is it for him, he won’t be one of those guys you read about years from now who aren’t making it and are grasping for a job back in the game.
Depending on when David Lee heals and barring Eddy Curry's return, Bender's absence leaves the Knicks without a single real big man. This would seem a good time to take a waiver on a D-League big man, but Donnie Walsh hasn't really expressed interest in that avenue so far this season. There's talent to be gained, though. Just look at how former Knick call-up Chris Hunter is playing in Golden State. It's either that or
small tiny microscopic ball for the rest of the season, which might very well be the organization's preferred option.
Best of luck to Bender. We love you, Legs.