WASHINGTON — The Knicks are low on high-fives and maybe soon even hand sanitizer.
Welcome to the world of the NBA under coronavirus guidelines.
Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina, whose home country of France has been harder hit by the coronavirus, spoke for the entire globe after Tuesday’s morning shootaround at Georgetown when he said:
“I can’t wait to be done with this virus.”
With the NBA closing locker rooms to the media before and after games and the threat of fan-less contests, the Knicks are making their adjustments.
No high-fives during practices and games, just elbow and forearm bumps. And the club is “rationing” hand sanitizer, according to forward Taj Gibson.
A Knicks spokesman said there’s plenty of sanitizer for the players and there’s no danger of running low, but some are trying to stock up sanitizer for their families.
“No fist-bumps,’’ Knicks veteran Gibson said. “Always do it with your elbow. Any little movement, you’re touching the ball, you got to cleanse, you got to wash your hands. (We) ran out of hand sanitizer. It’s insane. But you do what you got to do.”
The Knicks, who play the Wizards Tuesday at Capital One Arena, are on alert.
“What we have been doing for a while is not hand-to-hand contact stuff,’’ interim coach Mike Miller said. “It’s more the forearm. It’s kind of catching on. We do that when we see each other passing by.’’
Gibson was asked how often he’s using sanitizer.
“I lost count. As soon as I wake up. You got to get the door and you don’t know about the doorknob. There’s so many times. You know it’s crazy when you can’t even get any hand sanitizer. You got to ration it out. Like literally (Monday), we had to ration out hand sanitizer.
“I tried to get a bunch of hand sanitizer (and) they were like, ‘nah we need it.’ It was like we need to pick through the guys and make sure everybody gets a good amount. Wow.”
The Knicks abided by NBA policy and designated an interview area on Tuesday, placing two chairs side by side for players and the coach. Seven feet away were another row of chairs for six media members.
“A lot of people, lot of family, especially in the first days, it was something a little bit scary,’’ Ntilikina said. “Fortunately, my family is overseas. I have a lot of friends in the region that has a couple cases. Everything we’ve heard, I feel a little bit better about the news, what they teach us about that virus.
“I was really scared the first days, but now I feel better about it because I feel like we’re more prepared.”
The Frenchman said he’d understand if fans were banned. It’s been done in Italy and France.
“All over the world they’re doing it,’’ Ntilikina said. “If they’re doing it, it’s because they feel it’s smart. I know in my case I will do everything to be clean, to take care of my body, extend that message to my people, to my team.”
Julius Randle said his 3-year-old son won’t be going to any more Knicks games, but senses an overreaction.
“Not touching the fans, it’s unfortunate,’’ Randle said. “Fans love stuff like that.”
LeBron James said last week he won’t play at an empty arena.
“We love our fans,” Randle said. “The NBA is going to do what’s best for the players.