If OK, Shump ‘absolutely’ will play vs. DET
January, 14, 2013
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
Debby Wong/USA TODAY Sports Iman Shumpert said he felt "great" after participating in a 3-on-3 game during Monday's practice.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Iman Shumpert said he felt "great" after playing full court 3-on-3 on Monday evening, with no pain or soreness in his surgically repaired right knee.
If he's still pain-free after Wednesday's practice, Shumpert will "absolutely" make his season debut against the Detroit Pistons in London on Thursday, Mike Woodson said.
"He looks good it’s going to take a day at a time. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. Just got to make sure he doesn’t have any setbacks. And if not, he’ll play on Thursday," Woodson said.
Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsBarring a setback, Shumpert will see his first game action since injuring his right knee in last year's playoffs.
The Knicks practiced on Monday evening before boarding a flight to London. They are scheduled to arrive in London on Tuesday morning. There will be a voluntary practice on Tuesday and a full practice on Wednesday in advance of the Pistons game.
Assuming Shumpert plays Thursday, he will do so with a yet-to-be-determined minutes restriction.
"I’m extremely excited. I’ll probably get chills, be a little anxious out there," he said. "But I hope to have it settled down and be ready to play."
Shumpert's return comes at a perfect time for the Knicks (24-13). New York started the season 18-5 but has been inconsistent of late. The Knicks are 5-5 in their past 10 home games and have lost eight of 13.
Defense has been a major issue for the club; the Knicks have allowed at least 100 points in seven of the past eight losses.
They've also fallen behind early rather frequently, trailing after the first quarter in 11 of their past 12 games.
Shumpert should help in both facets.
The second-year guard established himself as one of the top young defenders in the NBA last season and is a strong ball handler with a penchant for pushing the tempo.
From his seat on the bench, Shumpert said he's seen the Knicks fall into too many half-court possessions. He'd like to see them push the ball in the open court and force the opposing defense to react.
"I can apply pressure to guards both offensively and defensively," Shumpert said. "So that’s what I’m looking to add."
Woodson will have to juggle his rotation a bit when Shumpert returns. Ronnie Brewer has started the majority of the Knicks' games at small forward, but has struggled for most of the past six weeks.
He was recently replaced in the starting lineup by James White and might be forced to the bench when Shumpert returns.
Shumpert will initially come in off the bench, but many expect him to be in the starting lineup once he's ready.
The 2011 first-round pick isn't worried about his future role with the team, though.
"I don’t really care," he said. "I feel like we’ve got a team that could win a championship; that’s all I ever wanted."
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