Alec Burks’ 3-point accuracy has been sharper than his injury projections.
When he sprained his right ankle in the season’s third game on Dec. 27, the Knicks’ hot-shooting swingman thought he’d be back in a flash.
“I underestimated it,’’ Burks said after Wednesday’s practice in San Francisco. “I felt if I took a couple of days off, I’d be back to playing. It wasn’t the case. We had to reevaluate things. The staff helped me a lot and got me back playing.’’
That was some sprain. More than three weeks later, he finally will be back Thursday against the Warriors — the franchise that resuscitated his career in 2019-20, when he averaged 16.1 points.
“I’m just glad to be playing,’’ Burks said. “It’s a team I used to play for. I still got a great relationship [there], a great organization. But I’m just excited to play against anybody.’’
Burks put up pretty numbers for both the Warriors and the 76ers last season, putting the 6-foot-5 guard on the Knicks radar during November’s free agency.
Knicks president Leon Rose inked him to one-year, $6 million deal. It sounds modest, but it was the Knicks’ most lucrative signing.
Burks looked like an early bargain when he shot 66.7 percent from 3 (10 of 15) in the first three games and showed a smooth knack of scoring off the dribble in mid-range. He averaged 20.7 points per game coming off the bench.
“I think [the ankle] is doing great,’’ said Burks, the former Utah lottery pick who played 7½ seasons for the Jazz and will face them Tuesday. “It’s been a long process, trying to get back to into game shape.’’
The Knick were 1-2 when Burks was shelved. They’ve gone 6-6 since.
“Just playing better,’’ Burks said. “The first few games we were still trying figure things out. Now we settled in and got game experience under our belt and it’s showing we’re a real good team when we play the right way.’’
Burks can easily slide right in as guard Austin Rivers (Achilles), in a recent slump, popped on the injury report as doubtful. … Frank Ntilikina (sprained knee) was upgraded to doubtful, meaning he could be getting closer to returning.
Former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy told The Post he talks to Tom Thibodeau but denies he’s giving advice, saying the team’s’ current head coach has “8,000 assistant coaches’’ and doesn’t need it. Actually it’s eight assistants. But Thibodeau said Van Gundy, his mentor, has been helpful this season.
“I talk to him a lot,’’ Thibodeau said. “He’s a great coach, a great friend, so we talk about a lot of things. His advice is always appreciated, excellent advice.’’
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