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It is no longer ‘inconceivable’ that Jeremy Lin could play in the first round

Apr 29, 2012, 12:04 AM EDT

New York Knicks' Lin pumps his fist from the bench as teammates score during their NBA basketball game in Toronto Reuters

The New York Times reports Saturday that Knicks guard Jeremy Lin began one-on-one drills before the Knicks’ demolition loss to the Heat in Game 1. Mike Woodson has repeatedly said that Lin is out for the entire first-round with swelling in his sore knee. From the New York Times:

The Knicks have not officially changed Lin’s prognosis, which called for a six-week recovery period and would probably cover the first round. But it is now conceivable that Lin will play in this series, depending on how long it goes.

The team will wait to see how Lin’s knee responds to Saturday’s workout before deciding whether to accelerate his return. He would still need time to regain his conditioning and stamina.

via Knicks’ Lin Is Back on the Court, Playing One on One – NYTimes.com.

Trying to rush Lin back is not the answer. Him miraculously saving the Knicks would make for a great ending to his terrific story this season, but hurting his knee further, impacting his career and costing him what he needs to be the best he can be is much worse. It’s hard to say that it would be worth it to get him back.

Say that he’s available for Game 4. If the Knicks are down 2-1, is it worth tying the series? What if they’re down 3-0 with blowouts? Or if they’re up 2-1? Trying to unwrap that riddle is very difficult, and the Knicks are going to have to think long and hard about it. For starters, Lin’s not going to help with their defense, which was porous on Saturday. But he would help the offense, which was anemic. With Iman Shumpert out, his minutes might be useful for nothing else but to give Baron Davis a rest.

It’s still a longshot that Lin will play. But it’s something to keep an eye on, and we will.

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