MIAMI -- On April 28, 2012, Iman Shumpert tore his left ACL and lateral meniscus in the third quarter of Game 1 of the Knicks' first-round series against the Heat, when he was attempting to make a dribble move to get by Mario Chalmers.
On Tuesday night, Shumpert takes the court in Miami for the first time since the injuries, which kept him out of action for nine months.
"It's definitely a big deal to me to finally come full circle and play them again 11 months later," he said before shootaround at the AmericanAirlines Arena. "I feel like I've got to get this game out of the way. I've kind of dreaded coming back to play here, but hopefully we'll make this a good memory this time.
"As long as we win and I don't get hurt tonight, I'll be the happiest man alive."
Reflecting on the moment of his injuries last April, he said, "I didn't know what happened; I just knew that I wasn't going to come back and play that game."
He also didn't think it would take him this long to find his groove again. Shumpert made his season debut on Jan. 17 but has made his biggest leap on both ends of the floor in March, shooting 49.1 percent from 3-point range (26-for-53) and averaging 1.1 steals over 18 games. In the past three games, he had two big first quarters and averaged 11.3 points during that stretch.
"I thought I'd be able to just come back and just do my thing, but that was my first major injury. So I guess I learned the hard way," he said.
Mike Woodson has been impressed with Shumpert's recovery.
"We've seen so many injuries over the years, and I always say to players, 'When you get hurt, you just got to pick up the pieces and keep it moving. Get back out on the court and try it again,'" the coach said. "And that's what he's done. He put a lot of work in this summer to get back, so hopefully he won't have any lingering thoughts about what happened here."
"I'm just feeling a lot more confident in doing more things," Shumpert said. "I'm starting to finally feel where I can step in and do stuff, and I think it's making it easier for us. ... I'm starting to learn what shots you're going to get every game, where I've got to be more aggressive, learn to pick my spots a little bit better. As a result, I feel like I'm playing a lot better."
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