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Monday, April 2, 2012

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Premature ending: Jeremy Lin will have surgery on his left knee and is expected to be sidelined for at least six weeks. AP

Injured Lin may miss remainder of season

AP

NEW YORK — Linsanity won't be around for a playoff push.

Jeremy Lin is instead heading for left knee surgery that is expected to sideline him six weeks, possibly ending his amazing breakthrough season and leaving the New York Knicks without their starting point guard as they fight for a postseason spot.

Lin had an MRI exam this week that revealed a small, chronic meniscus tear and he has elected to have surgery next week in New York.

With the regular season ending April 26, the biggest story in basketball this season is probably done unless the Knicks make a deep playoff run.

Speaking slowly during a pregame press conference, Lin was unable to hide his disappointment with the decision that was reached earlier Saturday after a painful workout.

"It (stinks) not being able to be out there with the team," Lin said. "And you know, it is what it is and so hopefully I can come back as soon as I can and help everybody."

He was barely holding on to a place in the NBA back in February. Now, after the back-to-back Sports Illustrated covers and popularity around the world, he has to go back to the bench when he wants to play most.

"If this was done very early in the year, obviously . . . I don't know where my career would be. I could be, would be definitely without a job and probably fighting for a summer league spot," Lin said. "But having said that, this happening now hurts just as much, because all the players, we really put our heart and souls into the team and into the season, and to not be there when it really matters most is hard."

The Knicks will continue to turn to Baron Davis in place of Lin, the undrafted Harvard alum who became the starter in February and turned in a series of brilliant performances, kicking off a phenomenon that was called Linsanity.

Lin is averaging 14.1 points and 6.1 assists, but the numbers only tell a small part of the story.

The Knicks were under .500 and looking like a mess when Lin was given a chance to play extended minutes at point guard for then-coach Mike D'Antoni on Feb. 4 against New Jersey.

Lin, the first American-born player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to play in the NBA, scored 25 points with seven assists in that New York victory, was inserted into the starting lineup two days later against Utah, and took the Knicks on a seven-game winning streak that gained worldwide attention.

The 23-year-old Lin left the Knicks' easy victory over Detroit last Saturday after feeling discomfort, saying afterward he could have returned for the fourth quarter if the game had been close. He took part in shootaround before their game Monday and at first believed he could deal with the pain.

Though the swelling went down, the pain never did. He said he got three or four opinions that all said the same thing, and after testing it again Friday and Saturday, he decided to have the surgery.

"I can't really do much. Can't really cut or jump, so it's pretty clear that I won't be able to help the team unless I get this fixed right now," Lin said before the Knicks played Cleveland. "It's disappointing for me, it's hard to watch the games and I think I'd want to be out there obviously more than anything right now. But hopefully, it's a six-week rehab process but I tend to heal fast, so hopefully I can come back as soon as possible and still contribute this season hopefully."



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