NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Knicks will be well-rested when they take on the Pistons on Thursday in London.
They’ll also receive a much-needed boost.
Knicks guard Iman Shumpert is expected to make his season debut for New York, and he might even start for the Atlantic Division leaders.
“We’ll see,” head coach Mike Woodson told a small group of reporters in regard to Shumpert potentially starting . “That could be a possibility, based on him loosening up. If the doctors said that might be the way to go, I wouldn’t be scared of putting him in the starting lineup. He’s been there before.”
The 2011 first-round pick of the Knicks suffered an injury during last season’s first-round playoff matchup against the Heat. It was later revealed that the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder tore the ACL and meniscus in his left knee. He underwent major knee surgery in the offseason.
Known for his suffocating defense, Shumpert contributed on the offensive side of the ball in his rookie season as well, averaging 9.5 points, 2.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 28.9 minutes per game.
The Georgia Tech product finished fifth in the 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year voting. He was also the only rookie to receive votes for the Defensive Player of the Year award, which ultimately went to teammate Tyson Chandler.
The added defensive presence will be welcome for a team that has struggled in that department as of late.
Woodson expects Shumpert to be on the floor, but he will be careful not to rush the 22-year-old if he’s not ready.
“We’ll evaluate him on Thursday at shootaround and see where he is mentally and physically, and make a decision [whether] to play,” Woodson told Newsday.
After heading home to Manhattan, the Knicks will round out January with games against the Nets, the Celtics, the 76ers, the Hawks and the Magic.
How much of a shot in the arm will Shumpert be for this team? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…