Yesterday, in a conference call, Mike Woodson said that he’s “not counting” on Jeremy Lin returning to the Knicks’ lineup in time for Wednesday’s game five. This comes on the heels of Melo shooting down a Lin return this year by saying “he’ll be ready to go next year”, without a mention of the remaining playoff games, after Sunday’s victory over the Heat.
While, I hope Jeremy Lin is not rushed back to the floor, if he’s cleared by the doctors, I’d imagine the Knicks will bring him back. He’ll sell even more merchandize, could turn Miami’s home court advantage into a “Linsanity” court, as well as inspire his teammates.
Now, the main concern I have with brining Lin back right after a knee injury is, of course, re-injury – especially considering the way ACLs have been tearing this post-season. But let’s also not forget how ineffective he was against the Heat this season.
The Heat are a very talented team – both on offense and defense. In Lin’s first and only meeting against them, he was suffocated by Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole, even bringing the ball up the court was challenging. On February 23rd, in 34 minutes, Lin shot just 1-for-11, grabbed six rebounds, dished out three assists and picked up three steals, but turned the ball over eight times in the process. That was with a healthy knee, too. Now, Lin would be playing the league’s fourth best defense – by defensive efficiency – with just one 5-on-5 scrimmage – assuming he participates today – under his belt.
Yes, Jeremy Lin is ahead of schedule. Yes, Jeremy Lin has participated in 3-on-3 scrimmages in practice. But he’s yet to participate in a 5-on-5 scrimmage – the closes to in-game action – and he’s yet to receive medical clearance. Even if Lin is to receive the clearance he needs before Wednesday night’s game five, playing him against the most physical team in the league, fresh off a knee injury, is a recipe for disaster.