The Knicks’ absolute bipolar, roller-coaster of a season took yet another turn with news today that Jeremy Lin will undergo knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. The surgery will sideline him for six weeks, and while most media, whether out of optimism or caution, are reporting that Lin’s finished for just the regular season, any objective basketball fan who’ve paid attention to the season know’s Lin’s probably done for good this season.
Oh we’re not doubting the six week timetable for his return, we’re just pretty sure the Knicks won’t be playing by then.
Lin’s scheduled his surgery for next week, and let’s say he’s ready to go in exactly six weeks–that’s May 12. The NBA playoffs start on April 28, and, according to the NBA’s official schedule, the latest start date for the second round is May 14, likely to be earlier.
Even if Lin (and Stoudemire, who’s also out of action with a bulging disc in his back) are healthy–meaning even if the Knicks are at full strength–they had a very slim chance to beat the Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat anyway (their likely opponents). Now? No chance in hell for the Knicks. They will not be getting past the first round, period.
Whether or not they’ll even make the playoffs is a legit question, considering the Knicks only have a 2 game lead over Milwaukee for the final playoff spot.
Needless to say, the next time Lin suits up for a game, it’ll be next season.
Of course, if the whole Linsanity craze has taught us anything, it’s that the Chinese-American guard’s emergence out of nowhere has raised interest in the NBA from people who usually don’t know/don’t care about the game. That Lin’s surgery was reported by outlets such as Hollywood Reporter and NPR summed up just how much Lin has transcended sports.
So while most seasoned NBA fans are familiar with terms such as “meniscus tear” and “arthroscopic surgery”, for many fans–of Lin, not so much basketball–around the world, there must be some questions. Well, here’s our handy guide:
What is a meniscus? How did Lin tear it?
The meniscus is an important piece of cartilage that provides cushioning in the knee–without it, bones in the knee joint would grind. Lin likely suffered the tear during March 26’s win over the Detroit Pistons, when he left the game early after feeling discomfort in his knee.
Although the injury sounds bad, it is a common injury among NBA players. According to Zach Lowe of Sports Illustrated, there’ve been 147 meniscus tears in the NBA from the 98-99 season to the 08-09 season.
In fact, Phoenix Suns’ Grant Hill just underwent surgery for the same injury earlier this week.
What the heck is an arthroscopic surgery?
Arthroscopic surgery is a surgical procedure in which the internal structure of a joint is examined for treatment using a tube-like viewing instrument called an arthroscope. Basically, it’s less intrusive–less “under the knife”–than typical surgeries. The incision is much smaller, resulting in less tissue trauma (meaning quicker recovery).
So Lin will fully recover, right?
He should. As mentioned before, the injury isn’t uncommon. The Knick’s own JR Smith had similar surgery in 2007, and he’s gunning away (seriously, the dude is a black hole) completely fine right now.
But…former Portland Trailblazer superstar Brandon Roy was forced to retire from the game last year after one too many meniscus surgeries, which left him with, um, no meniscus left.
What does Lin’s absence mean for the Knicks?
While Lin’s fallen back down to earth a bit since his superstar run in February, he still was a valuable member of the Knicks, simply by being the main ball handler and the second best creator behind Carmelo Anthony. As mentioned earlier, the Knicks would have been outmatched against Chicago or Miami in the playoffs anyway even with Lin. Without Lin? Forget it. The Knicks have no chance to make any noise in the playoffs.
Then should we root for the Knicks to miss the playoffs, so they can get a lottery pick in this year’s insanely deep draft? I mean… Anthony Davis would look good as a Knick!
Um… no. The Knicks’ notoriously inept front office gave its 2012 draft pick away in that trade for a washed-up Tracy McGrady two seasons ago. Meaning if the Knicks suck, they’ll just suck, unlike Golden State, which is trying to actively suck right now so they can improve immediately at the upcoming draft.