Sunday, April 29, 2012
Who's Lin, Who's Out For New York Knicks in Game Two?
With a feeling of deja vu in the air, the injuries appear to be mounting for Knicks at the worst possible time.
Last season, the team's playoff hopes hit a colossal iceberg when both Amar'e Stoudemire and then-point guard Chauncey Billups sat out with nagging injuries. The team was swept in sorry fashion in the first-round by the Celtics.
Unfortunately, the Knicks are in fact experiencing more of the same difficulties this postseason as well. Though the team had originally expected Jeremy to sit out through the first round with a knee injury, they have received even more devastating news as time goes on. Not only is Iman Shumpert out for the playoffs with a torn ACL, but Tyson Chandler is plagued by the flu and Baron Davis is nursing a nagging back injury.
It may excite fans to see some of these players rise above and hit the hardwood amongst the adversity, but at what cost to the team would it come? Chandler struggled to be effective on both sides of the floor during game one, and Davis has struggled to build up any level of consistency as he's continued to climb back to 100% health.
Though it was reported earlier Chandler was "probable" for tomorrow's game, the fact that he sat out practice is apparently making Coach Woodson a bit more skeptical of the situation, just about downgrading the big man to "questionable" for tomorrow's contest. Again, it's great that he showed tremendous heart and even stepped out on the hardwood, but it may not be worth him slowing the Knicks down if he is indeed still feeling that under the weather.
Davis is also not a guarantee for game two in Miami. His back injury has limited his minutes in the past, and if he's not able to display some hop in his step, the veteran guard causes the Knicks' offense to fall stagnant. Whether or not he should play at half-strength, my pal Howard Beck tweeted that Davis asserted he will give it a go tomorrow, nevertheless.
But the injuries don't end there for New York. Though the Knicks were saving Jared Jeffries in the weeks leading up to the playoffs, he returned to the court yesterday only to struggle in just seven minutes of play. With Chandler potentially out once again and Anthony struggling to keep with LeBron James, the team could certainly use Jeffries' agility and lengthy frame to throw opponents off offensively.
Through all this frustration, there may be a silver-lining for the Knicks. As Beck first reported earlier in the week, Jeremy Lin appears ahead of the schedule that originally pegged his recovery time to be six weeks. There can certainly be optimism surrounding a potential return, given that Lin has begun playing one-one-one.
However, Lin did assert after practice this afternoon that he was feeling more sore today than he was yesterday, so full contact may in fact not be in his future. That said, a game four return is still a remote possibility.
Is a Jeremy Lin at 50% better than a Baron Davis at 75%? That's probably true, but the Knicks need to be careful they do not rush him back and risk further injury. With the team's poor outing yesterday, and other various injuries mounting, however, perhaps Lin will feel compelled to get back on the court.
Fans should only expect Lin back in the first-round series at all if it appears competitive at the point of any potential return. Should the Knicks be down 3-0 to the Heat, there's no point in risking throwing him out there to be the savior. A healthy Lin struggled mightily vs. Miami this season, so no one should expect a rusty one to thrive against them either.