Saturday, March 31, 2012

Jeremy Lin will have surgery on his left knee meniscus; season likely over

The Knicks announced about an hour before today's Cavs game that Jeremy Lin has a small tear of the meniscus in his left knee (presumably the lateral, rather than medial, meniscus) and will undergo surgery early next week. The expected recovery time for Lin from the surgery is 6 weeks. Lin called the tear a chronic condition due to overuse.

According to a study on NBA meniscal injuries published before the 2011-12 season, "The number of days missed for lateral meniscal tears and medial meniscal tears was 43.8 ± 35.7 days and 40.9 ± 29.7 days, respectively, and was not statistically different."

In his pre-game press conference, Lin said an MRI on his left knee was performed on March 26, after his last game, the March 24 win over the Pistons. He knew surgery was inevitable, but hoped it could be postponed until after the season. He was hopeful when the swelling went down; however, the pain remained the same. The Knicks and Lin tried a week of treatment. Today, when Lin still couldn't cut or jump, the call for surgery was made. Given Lin's reliance on lift in his shooting, it's likely his knee injury contributed to his shaky shooting in the last few games he played.

With Davis playing hurt, Lin would have been the undisputed starting PG the rest of the season. Lin says he'll try to return early enough to help the team, but the regular season ends on April 26 or roughly 3.5 weeks. A 6 week recovery would mean Lin returning in the 2nd round of the play-offs. I hope Lin gets to play in the post-season just for the learning experience, but I also don't want him to rush back and risk a more serious injury. However, while holding onto the 8th seed is feasible, injuries have hurt the Knicks' hopes of making it out of the 1st round. Stoudamire may not return this season and, with his back injury, may not be able to help much if he does return. Jeffries has a chronic knee condition that has caused him to miss weeks at a time. Anthony, Davis, and Chandler are playing hurt. Toney Douglas may be restored as the back-up point guard. Douglas failed as a PG under D'Antoni, who asks a lot of his PGs, but he may be able to play the back-up role under Woodson, who gives less responsibility to his PGs.

An interesting PR benefit of Lin's season-ending injury is the media have framed the story as the Knicks losing a star and team leader. The Legend of Linsanity seems secure. It was a heck of a 2 month run.

Add: An explanation of Jeremy Lin's contract situation as a restricted free agent this off-season.

Eric

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