Jeremy Lin hopes for Game 4 return

Updated: April 30, 2012, 3:31 PM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

MIAMI -- One day after cutting and moving laterally on his surgically repaired left knee, New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin says he hopes to return to the court during New York's first-round series with the Miami Heat, possibly as soon as Game 4 on May 6.

"I think I'm gonna evaluate it at the end of the week and see," Lin said after the Knicks' practice on Sunday. "Hopefully I'll feel good by then ... the main thing is to be able to play without thinking about (the injury)."

Lin has already ruled himself out for Games 2 and 3.

The Knicks could also be without center Tyson Chandler (flu) in Game 2 on Monday night. Chandler missed practice on Sunday and interim coach Mike Woodson said the 7-foot-1 center is a game-time decision after his flu symptoms didn't improve overnight.

"I don't know what he's going to feel like tomorrow so hopefully a miracle happens overnight and he's ready to play," the coach said. As for Lin, he played one-on-one with Knicks assistant Kenny Atkinson on Saturday, cutting and moving laterally for the first time since undergoing surgery on April 2 to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee.

On Sunday, Lin noted that he felt "soreness" in his knee. He planned to stay off of it for the rest of the day and re-evaluate the knee on Monday. Lin seemed discouraged about the discomfort on Sunday, calling it a "setback."

"Every day we add something new, so we don't know how it's gonna respond," Lin said.

The second-year guard said he will take contact for the first time this week and hoped to be healthy May 6 when the Knicks host Game 4 at Madison Square Garden.

"I don't really want to make a promise because I just don't know how I'm gonna feel," said Lin, who has been out since March 24. "If I felt good today then that would be more of a possibility, but I didn't feel that great today."

According to the Knicks, Lin was originally expected to return six weeks after surgery. That would set him on course for a return during the second round, but Lin's timetable changed after he played one-on-one with Atkinson on Saturday. Just three days earlier, he had struggled with low-intensity, side-to-side movement and jogging.

"I could do a lot more than I thought I could (on Saturday)," Lin said. " ... It kind of happened really fast."

The Knicks trail the best-of-seven series 1-0 after an embarrassing 33-point loss in Game 1 on Saturday. If the Knicks are down 3-0 going into Game 4, it would make little sense to rush back Lin and risk him re-injuring his knee.

Woodson added that Lin would be playing limited minutes if he returned.

"After going through (surgery), he won't be in basketball shape," Woodson said. "My job is to gauge him ... and make sure he's giving us solid minutes within the short minutes that he plays."

Woodson is dealing with more pressing injuries than Lin's.

Chandler, the Knicks' starting center, has shown little improvement from the flu that limited him to just 21 minutes in Game 1. Chandler was slow to react to rebound opportunities and shots near the rim, finishing with three rebounds, zero points and seven turnovers.

"He's just barely hanging in there," Woodson said of Chandler's condition on Sunday. "He gave 21 minutes but it wasn't the Tyson that we're used to having on the floor."

Woodson also said that Baron Davis (back) may be a game-time decision. The Knicks' starting point guard was limited in practice on Sunday after sitting out most of the second half of Game 1 due to back stiffness.

Davis vowed to suit up Sunday.

"If I wake up in the morning I'm playing," he said.

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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