Linsanity may be over for this season.
In a devastating blow to their playoff hopes, global phenom Jeremy Lin will undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair a chronic torn meniscus in his left knee and will be out six weeks. That means he’s done for the regular season, which ends April 26, and the first round of the playoffs.
Lin, at best, would return for the second round. That’s likely a pipe dream as Lin’s loss jeopardizes the Knicks’ chances of getting to the playoffs. The Knicks bumped their lead over Milwaukee, who lost to the Grizzlies last night, to 2 1/2 games, beating the Kyrie Irving-less Cavs, 91-75, making interim head coach Mike Woodson 9-2.
SOMBER MOMENT: Jeremy Lin pauses to think while announcing he will be out six weeks after he undergoes arthroscopic surgery to repair a chronic torn meniscus in his left knee.
Lin said he would try to beat the timetable, but his season probably is over and it ends bitterly after a nearly two-month Linderella ride.
The glass slipper has cracked. A free agent this summer, Lin’s Knicks’ career possibly could be over, too, though the club may make it their No. 1 priority to re-sign him when factoring in marketing windfalls.
Lin will have surgery early this week in New York after consulting with three independent doctors.
“It [stinks],’’ Lin said. “This happening now hurts. All the players, we put our heart and soul into the season and not to be there at the end when it matters most, it’s hard.
“When I come back, I’ll be stronger than I ever was,’’ Lin said. “I’ll be a better player. It’s just another bump in the road. God does everything for a reason.’’
Lin has been out of the lineup since Monday’s win over the Bucks and this was not a shocker considering Friday’s escapades when Woodson said he wasn’t sure Lin would be back this season, then backtracked later.
Woodson said ailing Baron Davis, suffering from a hamstring pull, continues as the team’s starting point guard, but they are now suspect at the position.
According to a team spokesman, Lin made his final decision at 5:45 p.m. after testing his knee yesterday morning, then meeting with Knicks medical director Lisa Callahan. It’s unclear if the sudden heavy minutes in the lockout-condensed scheduled caused the injury, but former coach Mike D’Antoni’s remark that he would “ride him like friggin’ Secretariat’’ has bittersweet overtones.
“We’ve got to go on, but he’s a big piece of our puzzle and what we’ve been doing as of late,’’ Woodson said. “All is not bad — we have three veteran point guards sitting over there — but we’ve just got to make do until he’s able to get back in uniform. But it is a big blow. He was starting to come as a player and it’s not a career-ending injury. Plenty of people play with meniscus problems. He’ll bounce back.”
After his workout yesterday, Lin realized his mobility was not good enough. Lin took his MRI Monday.
“Our goal was to give it about 5-to-7 days to see how it reacts and see if I can play on it the rest of the season,’’ Lin said. “I knew I had to have surgery at some point — whether it was now or after the end of the season. We did rehab all day [for a week]. We did everything we could.
“I can’t really do much. I can’t really cut or jump. It was pretty clear I couldn’t help the team unless I get it fixed right now.’’
On Friday in Atlanta, Lin avoided reporters on several occasions following Woodson’s ominous remark. Woodson made a reference to how Lin and Amar’e Stoudemire may not return. Stoudemire’s regular season is also in doubt because of a bulging disk. The Knicks could be in the same boat as the first round last season when Stoudemire and their then starting point guard, Chauncey Billups, were hurt.
Lin said the “swelling went down’’ across the week.
“We were optimistic it would be OK,’’ Lin said. “The swelling kept going down but it didn’t [feel] any better. I didn’t test it until [yesterday]. It felt probably worse than it did a week ago.’’
Lin, 23, is a free agent so it is possible he’s played his last game as a Knick. But Lin isn’t ruling out playing again this spring.
“It’s a six-week rehab process,’’ Lin said. “I can heal fast. I can come back as soon as possible and contribute this season hopefully.’’
The Knicks may need to use their full $5 million mid-level exception to re-sign him and that would torpedo their chance at Steve Nash. Lin said his first choice is re-signing.
“I’d love to keep this team together,’’ Lin said. He may not have a choice since the Knicks can match another team’s offer.
Asked if he’s worried if season-ending surgery will effect free agency, Lin said, “I’m not even worried about that right now. It’s not like a career-ending thing or something that will bother me. Once it’s fixed, it’s fixed. It’s as simple a surgery as you can have. I’m more concerned with this season.’’