SAN ANTONIO — Jalen Brunson worked out with a trainer on the court and fired up some pregame shots Thursday night, but the $104 million point guard missed his second consecutive game for the Knicks on this Texas swing with a sore right hip.
Miles McBride, who played a career-high 46 minutes off the bench in Monday’s overtime loss in Dallas, got his first start of the season against the Spurs with Brunson and fellow starter RJ Barrett (lacerated finger) sidelined.
Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game he was considering expanding the rotation from the eight players who essentially played in Dallas, with Barrett leaving the floor less than two minutes into the first quarter.
That means a spot could have been opened for a benched former regular such as Evan Fournier or Cam Reddish to return to action, after Derrick Rose returned to the rotation with a 12-minute stint against the Mavericks.
“The last couple of years and because of my injuries I always have to be ready,” Rose said before the game. “Every year presents something different. This year similar to what I did in the past, but at the same time, it’s kind of similar but I’ve got to figure things out more when I get on the court.”
Rose said he’s also attempted to find the balance between mentoring young players such as McBride and recent starter Quentin Grimes and letting them figure things out on the court.
“When you’re placed in a position like that everybody’s talking to you. You’ve got the assistant, the head coach, you have the outsiders, your agent, your family members, your friends, everybody’s talking to them,” Rose said. “Q, he’s been starting, what, the last couple of games? Deuce, I think he is going to start tonight.
“So I don’t want to overload them with too much info. But things I do see in games I go up and tell them during the game. But never when we are off the floor, because they’re with a coach or obsessing over things themselves.”
Shooting guard Devin Vassell, the Spurs’ second-leading scorer at 19.6 points per game, was out with a sore left knee.