Jeremy Lin long shot for Game 5

Updated: May 8, 2012, 12:30 PM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin is "highly unlikely" to play in Game 5 of the team's first-round series against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, a source with knowledge of Lin's injury told ESPNNewYork.com on Monday night.

As the Knicks face a 3-1 series deficit and possible elimination in Game 5, Lin was expected to scrimmage Monday and Tuesday before the Knicks leave for Miami with the hopes of suiting up in Game 5.

But a source said that, as of Monday evening, the pain in Lin's surgically-repaired left knee appeared likely to keep him from playing in Game 5.

"Wednesday is probably too soon," said the source, who added that the Knicks haven't completely ruled Lin out yet, in hopes that he can recover in time to play.

Interim coach Mike Woodson said on Monday that team doctors will make the ultimate decision on Lin's availability.

Lin's return is a pressing issue for the Knicks. They lost Baron Davis to a season-ending knee injury on Sunday in the third quarter of their Game 4 win.

With Davis out, the Knicks have just two point guards on the roster -- Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby.

Woodson said on Monday that Bibby will start in Game 5.

Lin's return would add depth to the point guard position, even if he were able to play just ten minutes.

Bibby, 33, is averaging 19.7 minutes per game in the playoffs and has played more than 30 minutes just twice this season.

Douglas, who would likely back up Bibby if Lin doesn't play, has been on the bench for the entire series.

Woodson said on a conference call on Monday that he isn't planning on having Lin for Game 5.

"We'll gauge it today and tomorrow, but I'm not counting on Jeremy Lin to play," Woodson said. "So we've just got to continue where we've been in terms of guys in uniform. But I'm not counting on him to play. ... That's how it's been here in the last month and a half and that's how I'm preparing."

Woodson said that Lin, 23, hasn't looked in great shape during workouts, which could also be a determining factor in whether he plays Wednesday.

Woodson, however, reiterated throughout his chat with reporters that the final decision would be up to Lin and the Knicks' medical staff. Woodson said he would not push Lin to return on Wednesday if he wasn't comfortable doing so.

"It's just not my place to do that," said Woodson, who may call on Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith to handle the ball on Wednesday. "These professional teams have the best trainers, the best doctors, to make that decision. And when a player comes to me and says, 'Hey coach, I'm ready to get back out on the floor in uniform and play,' then I'm gonna play him."

Lin underwent surgery to repair a tear in his left meniscus April 2. He was originally expected to miss six weeks, meaning the earliest he'd return would be the second round of the playoffs.

Early last week, though, Lin had held out hope of returning for Game 4. But his left knee hadn't healed quickly enough for him to take the court. A day after scrimmaging for the first time last week, Lin complained of soreness in his knee. He's been out since March 24 and began working out nine days ago.

Woodson has said that if Lin does play Wednesday, it will likely be in limited minutes due to a lack of conditioning and the inevitable rust associated with missing six weeks.

"I've watched him shoot and run up and down, he's not in great shape," the coach said. "You know as well as I know, playoff basketball, you've got to be (in peak condition). And he hasn't played in a while, so I don't know if that's going to be a determining factor with the doctors."

In other injury news, the Knicks announced on Monday evening that an MRI revealed Davis had suffered a partial tear of the patella tendon in his right knee and complete tears of the right anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments.

Davis is expected to undergo surgery later this week. Recovery time is approximately 12 months.

Davis suffered the injury in the third quarter of Game 4 of the Knicks series against the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon. The 33-year-old was dribbling down court and appeared to go down without contact after his knee buckled.

Ian Begley is a regular contributor for ESPNNewYork.com.

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