Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Baron Davis (hamstring) returns
By Ian Begley
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
PHILADELPHIA -- After a two-game absence, New York Knicks point guard Baron Davis will return to the lineup on Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Davis suffered a right hamstring strain on March 16 and sat out the Knicks' wins over Indiana and Toronto.
Davis said his hamstring still bothers him, but with the Knicks (22-24) in the midst of a tight playoff race, he's decided to "to try to give it a go."
"This is an important game for us. I just want to make myself available to the coach and to the team and give what I can, however many minutes," Davis said. "... I'm comfortable with going out and playing, seeing where it is."
With Davis back, veteran Mike Bibby is likely out of the Knicks' rotation. Bibby had backed up Jeremy Lin in Davis' absence.
"I can't play three point guards. I'll come back with Baron based on what he tells me and we'll go from there," Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson said.
The Knicks have proceeded with caution with Davis' injury. The 32-year-old missed the first 31 games of the season because of a herniated disk in his back. He'd played 12 games for the Knicks and was just beginning to regain his rhythm on the court after a lengthy layoff. He's averaging 4.5 points and 5.6 assists in 17.3 minutes per game this year.
As a backup for Lin, Davis is an integral piece for the Knicks. Lin logged heavy minutes in early February and the Knicks need to keep him fresh in the final 20 games of the season.
When Woodson took over as interim coach for the departed Mike D'Antoni last Wednesday, some speculated Davis would replace Lin in the Knicks' starting lineup. Woodson has said he will stick with Lin in the starting lineup, barring injury.
"Right now, Jeremy Lin is our starting point guard and Baron is backing him up," Woodson said last Friday. "That's the way it's going to be the rest of the season pretty much unless somebody gets hurt. I like that rotation."