Iman Shumpert, the New York Knicks’ guard who tore an ACL last season, expects to return to the team in late winter or early spring instead of by the end of the year, as speculation had asserted.
The 6-foot-5 guard from Georgia Tech, who became an intricate part of the team’s success last season, told the New York Post that his priority is to come back healthy and that a set time frame was not a part of that equation.
“What you all are saying is not what we’re going by,” Shumpert told The Post before last night’s 110-88 victory over the 76ers that improved the Knicks to 3-0. “January, February is what we’re aiming for. I’m just trying to get healthy. When I get healthy, I’ll return to the court. I’m not going to come back and not be able to do the things I did last year and a little more. I want to come back and add something.”
The team is off to a 3-0 start without him, inspiring hope that they can be a solid team with even more depth with Shumpert’s return. The team, however, clearly is not rushing him.
Shumpert is the only young player on the Knicks’ roster with star potential; he can defend, get to the basket, run the floor and finish with authority. He is an asset the club has to protect.
The Knicks do have some depth with the two-point-guard lineups they’ve been using featuring Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni with Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith. The beauty of Shumpert is that he can play both guard positions and small forward.
If he returns in February, that would give him up to three months to get into shape and a rhythm with the team before the playoffs — more than enough time. And if the Knicks can sustain any semblance of the continuity they have shown to this point and avoid major injury, the addition of Shumpert could make them a dangerous foe come the playoffs.