After sitting, working and rehabbing for nearly nine months, Iman Shumpert finally got back on the court for the Knicks in London, starting and playing nearly 15 minutes against the Pistons.
Game 2 for the Knicks’ shooting guard comes today against the Nets at the Garden, and the minutes question will be evaluated before the game’s 3:30 start, according to coach Mike Woodson. To Shumpert, minutes are no issue.
“I’ll play 48 minutes if Woody tells me to go out and play 48 minutes,” Shumpert said. “It’s whatever the coaching staff and the doctors and our training staff want me to do.”
Woodson said there were no negative effects from Shumpert’s London appearance, which while not surprising, was pleasing and encouraging.
“I don’t know if I was surprised,” Woodson said. “I’ve seen it happen over the years to athletes, where you get hurt. They’re soul-searching, mentally and physically, trying to find themselves when they come back.
“I just think the fact that the kid is just so tough, mentally tough and physically tough, that he was determined that, ‘Hey, I’m back and I’m going to play.’ A lot of times it’s not that way... I was very pleased.”
Beyond the obvious concrete, on-court help Shumpert supplies with his return is the trickle-down effect for Jason Kidd. While Kidd said minutes have not yet been a problem for him, he has no problem yielding some of them — as well as two-guard time — to Shumpert.
“They’re not going to overplay him right off the bat. So I still might have to play a couple more minutes,” said Kidd, averaging 29.3 minutes. “But as time goes on he’ll start to eat some of those minutes up for me. But also, when Ray [Felton] gets back, that definitely helps.”
* After facing the Nets, the Knicks play Thursday in Boston where fans might recall Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett had a moment last time the teams met.
“I don’t know [how] they’ll receive [Anthony],” said Kidd, who had his special moments with the Boston crowd as a Net. “It’s still a rivalry, no matter if that incident happened or not. I look for them to maybe not welcome him. But he’s used to that atmosphere. That incident that took place is behind us.”
* The Knicks are 18-8 all-time — but just 3-5 in the last eight years — in Martin Luther King Jr. Day games. Only once, in their first game in 1986, have they been on the road for MLK Day. They lost. ... J.R. Smith on possibly making the All-Star Game: “It would mean a lot ... It would be the first time” and on Iman Shumpert’s hair: “Awful. Awful. It was cool for a while but he’s taken it too far now. He’s got to cut it.”
* Nothing on the Rasheed Wallace (left foot stress reaction) front.
“He’s still rehabbing. That’s about it,” Woodson said. Same with Raymond Felton (broken right pinkie). “He went through the conditioning part. But again, I don’t know what’s his timetable in terms of coming back.”
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