AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (CBSNewYork) — Knicks forward Cleanthony Early, who was shot in the leg in December, rejoined the team Thursday before New York’s road game against the Detroit Pistons.
Early has not been cleared for jumping, but he did participate on a limited basis at the Knicks‘ shootaround, the New York Post reported. The team has not announced a timetable for Early to return to action, but a source told the newspaper he could be back by March.
The Knicks did not make Early available to speak to reporters.
“It’s good for him to be back around the team, see his spirits up, being around us talking, laughing, just being back to having that basketball mind-set,’’ Carmelo Anthony told the Post. “I know it means a lot to him and us to see him back there.’’
Early was shot after leaving a Queens strip club on Dec. 30. Moments after he left the CityScapes Gentleman’s Club in Maspeth, as many as three vehicles boxed in the Uber cab he was in and a group of masked, armed men jumped out and confronted Early, robbing him of his gold chains and gold caps on his teeth, police said.
Early was then shot in the leg. He got back into the Uber car with the driver, and they went around the corner, where they started knocking on doors for help.
He was treated at Elmhurst Hospital and released later that morning.
No arrests have been made.
Early, who starred in college at Wichita State, was selected in the second round of the 2014 draft. He has struggled to make an impact in the NBA, as he’s been shuttled back and forth between the Knicks and their Developmental League team in Westchester. Early has played in 10 games this season for the Knicks, averaging 0.7 points per game.
The Knicks (23-28) play the Pistons at 7 p.m. Eastern Thursday.