CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -New York Knicks forward Renaldo Balkman has endured a rough training camp, mostly because he can't do much training with an injured ankle.
Sidelined for a month with a stress and cartilage injury in his right ankle, Balkman has watched from the sideline during camp at the College of Charleston this week.
``This is probably my first injury where I have had to sit out for a couple of weeks,'' said Balkman, a former South Carolina standout who has been limited mainly to shooting foul shots. During most of practice, he wears a protective boot on his ankle.
``I'm missing a lot right now. It's killing me. I'm ready to go out there right now and play,'' he said. ``But I've got to rest up so I can get back and get better.''
Balkman, a first-round draft pick in 2006, was a key sub for the Knicks last season, averaging slightly more than four rebounds and just under five points a game.
``He's a guy who brings a lot of energy to the game - brings the intangibles to the game,'' said Knicks coach Isiah Thomas. ``He's a defender - a good shot-blocker. So we're looking forward to getting him back.''
Thomas said Balkman had been working on his shooting and ball handling this summer before the injury.
Balkman played his college ball with the Gamecocks in Columbia, about 110 miles from Charleston. He made his first impression on New York during South Carolina's run in the NIT. He helped the Gamecocks to consecutive NIT titles on the Knicks' home floor at Madison Square Garden and was selected tournament MVP in 2006.
But he wasn't much appreciated when he first became a Knick. New York fans booed him when his name was called in the first round of the 2006 draft. However, he later became a fan favorite with his spirited play and drew comparisons to former NBA standout Dennis Rodman, known for his defensive prowess and flamboyant character on and off the court.
``I'm not like Dennis Rodman off the court,'' Balkman said, laughing. ``But on the court, I take it as a compliment that people say I was like him.''
Balkman injured his ankle playing basketball with some friends a few weeks ago in New York.
``I was playing defense and I couldn't slide to the right and it just didn't feel right,'' he said. ``It was bothering me, but I thought it was a sprained ankle and I was just going through the motions with the treatment and the icing. I just knew something was wrong.''
Besides missing camp, Balkman will miss the Knicks' first preseason game Monday against Philadelphia at the Colonial Center in Columbia, the Gamecocks' home floor.

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