When Iman Shumpert injured his knee Feb. 19 against the New Orleans Pelicans, he set off a chain of events which haven’t been at all favorable for the New York Knicks. Before it was known that all Shumpert had was a sprained MCL, the NBA trade deadline came the following day and it went by without a single move by the Knicks. New York was rumored to be in the running for several point guards throughout the league, but with uncertainty regarding Shumpert’s injury, teams held off on giving up talent for Shumpert in a trade.
The Knicks haven’t won a game since Shumpert’s been out. Not that you can attribute their five-straight losses all to losing the guard, but he does provide a presence. Say what you want about the rest of the team, but Shumpert competes every night and is an effort type of guy. He’s having the worst season of his three years with New York, shooting a poor 37.7 percent from the field. At 34.5 percent, he’s not shooting the three-ball nearly as well as he did last season. Like the rest of the Knicks, it’s simply been a down year for Shumpert.
Shumpert has been running and testing the knee, and though it feels great, he hasn’t cut on it yet the way he needs to. He may practice with the team at the beginning of this week to get some contact and see how the knee reacts. He was originally thought to miss at least two weeks, but it is possible that Shumpert returns 13 days after the injury at the Minnesota Timberwolves next Wednesday. It may be more realistic to expect Shumpert back when the Knicks return home next Friday, March 7, to face the Utah Jazz.
Whether head coach Mike Woodson starts Shumpert when he returns is another question in itself. He may have to ease him into the lineup for a couple games, but it was only a minor sprain. If swelling is down in the knee, there’s no need to baby it and give him a few minutes each night. Shumpert will bring some life back to the team because he really is a high-energy type of player. Whether the rest of the team is ready to come to life has yet to be seen.