Jeremy Lin posted this photo on his Facebook page shortly after the operation to repair a small tear in his left knee. (Photo/CNA)
The knee operation performed on Taiwanese-American basketball star Jeremy Lin has reportedly been a success, giving fans a small chance of seeing him play again this season in the second round of the NBA playoffs, should the New York Knicks make it that far.
Lin, whose fairytale season was cut short by a meniscus tear in his left knee, underwent surgery on Monday night in New York. The operation, personally handled by team orthopedist Dr Answorth Allen, was performed successfully, giving Lin a potential opportunity to return to the court in around six weeks.
"Praise God for a successful surgery! Now on the road to recovery! Lets gooo. Much love to all the fans for your support and kind words," Lin wrote on his Facebook page shortly after the operation.
Lin has not played since March 24, initially from what was said to be from general soreness while the injury was not believed to be serious. An MRI on March 26, the day he missed his first game, revealed the tear, the but Knicks did not announce the true extent of the injury — one that would rule Lin out for the remainder of the regular season — until March 30.
On Sunday, the New York Daily News published a piece accusing the Knicks of purposely delaying the bad news so as to not dampen enthusiasm for the team's playoff ticket pre-sales to season-ticket holders, which remained open until, coincidentally, March 30. It was reported that the promotional email sent to subscribers even featured a picture of Lin, who has become the team's most popular player and cash cow, leaping in celebration.
The Madison Square Garden Co, the parent company of the Knicks, rebutted the claim, calling it "fabricated reporting" and a "malicious attack." The statement said Lin did not decide to have the operation until the day it was announced and pointed out that the team has sold out 61 games in a row dating back to last season's playoffs, long before Lin burst onto the scene in February.
Lin's rise from a seldom-used bench player to record-setting superstar has been the story of this lockout-shortened NBA season. Lin had been cut from two teams before the Knicks picked up his contract but then went on to produce a string of phenomenal performances to turn them from one of the worst teams in the league into a playoff contender.
For the season, Lin has averaged 14.6 points, 6.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game, numbers brought down somewhat by his lack of playing time earlier on. In his 25 games as the team's starting point guard, Lin has averaged 18.2 points, 7.6 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game.
With 13 games left in the regular season, the Knicks are currently in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, two games ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks. The Knicks would have to hold on to their playoff spot and win their first round match-up for Lin to have a legitimate shot of seeing court action again this season.