One of the more compelling stories of this lockout-shortened season just might pick up where it left off if all goes right for the New York Knicks this postseason.
After undergoing left knee surgery on April 2, Jeremy Lin returned to practice with the Knicks on Wednesday, leading to questions surrounding the return of Linsanity for the Knicks if they can extend their season past the first round of the playoffs.
Will it be too much, too soon?
Lin can’t walk on water, but he was at least able to go through a light workout during New York’s shootaround while sporting a knee brace – some light jogging and shooting drills.
“I’d like to think if we’re able to get out of this first round, he should be ready for the second round, I would think,” said coach Mike Woodson of Lin.
“But that’s not for me to determine.”
“But we’ve got to put him through drills where he’s cutting and things of that nature just to make sure that the knee doesn’t swell up and he’s not physically sore. I mean, there’s going to be some soreness, but we’ve got to make sure that when he steps back out on the floor, he’s able to play basketball.”
The Knicks point guard, who became the sensation (or is it mandatory to write “Linsation”), had an original recovery schedule of being sidelined six to eight weeks and initial reports were that Lin’s season was over. At least his regular season was.
But about two weeks ago, Lin told reporters he’s considering a return depending if the Knicks battle past their first round opponents — which right now would be the powerhouse Miami Heat depending what happens on Thursday night.
Here’s the irony of it all. When Carmelo Anthony was sideline earlier this season with injuries, his eventual return was clouded by questions that throwing Melo back in the mix alongside with Linsanity would disrupt then-head coach Mike D’Antoni’s game plan and the Knicks overall on-court chemistry.
And that’s exactly what Lin doesn’t want to do: Lin won’t return if it means jeopardizing New York’s chemistry.
Before going down with knee surgery, Lin was averaging 14. 6 points, 6.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 35 games (with 25 starts) and was undoubtedly the heart of the first half of the Knicks season even with all of the distractions they faced.
It would be a great story to see him rewarded with some playoff run. But what really is the alternative?
Are the Knicks and Woodson comfortable trusting the point guard tandem of Baron Davis and Mike Bibby to run the show during New York’s second-straight postseason appearance?
It’s certainly worked up to this point during the regular season. Since D’Antoni’s departure, the Knicks are 16-6 under Woodson.
A New York win on Thursday night or a loss by the Philadelphia 76ers at Detroit would solidify the Knicks as the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, but if the Knicks lose and the Sixers win, the New York would fall to No. 8 and draw Chicago in the first round.
Reaching the second round isn’t going to be an easy task regardless if New York draws Miami or Chicago.
But if they pull off the miracle, Jeremy Lin just might be there to testify in the second round.