NEW YORK -- Jeremy Lin will have left knee surgery and will miss six weeks, likely ending his amazing breakthrough season.
The New York Knicks said Saturday their point guard had an MRI exam this week that revealed a small, chronic meniscus tear.
With the regular season ending April 26, the biggest story in basketball this season is probably done regardless of whether the Knicks make the playoffs.
He was barely holding on to a place in the NBA back in February. Now, after the back-to-back Sports Illustrated covers and popularity around the world, he has to go back to the bench when he wants to play most.
If this was done very early in the year, obviously ... I don t know where my career would be. I could be, would be definitely without a job and probably fighting for a summer league spot, Lin said. But having said that, this happening now hurts just as much, because all the players, we really put our heart and souls into the team and into season, and to not be there when it really matters most is hard.
The Knicks will continue to turn to Baron Davis in place of Lin, the undrafted Harvard alum who became the starter in February and turned in a series of brilliant performances, kicking off a phenomenon that was called Linsanity.
Lin is averaging 14.1 points and 6.1 assists, but the numbers only tell a small part of the story.
The Knicks were under .500 and looking like a mess when Lin was given a chance to play extended minutes at point guard for then-coach Mike D Antoni on Feb. 4 against New Jersey.
Lin, the first American-born player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to play in the NBA, scored 25 points with seven assists in that New York victory, was inserted into the starting lineup two days later against Utah, and took the Knicks on a seven-game winning streak that gained world-wide attention.
Lin left the Knicks easy victory over Detroit last Saturday, saying afterward he could have returned for the fourth quarter if the game had been close. He took part in shootaround before their game Monday and believed he could deal with the pain.
Though the swelling went down, the pain never did, and after testing it again Friday and Saturday, he decided to have the surgery.
I can t really do much. Can t really cut or jump, so it s pretty clear that I won t be able to help the team unless I get this fixed right now, Lin said before the Knicks played Cleveland. It s disappointing for me, it s hard to watch the games and I think I d want to be out there obviously more than anything right now. But hopefully, it s a six-week rehab process but I tend to heal fast, so hopefully I can come back as soon as possible and still contribute this season hopefully.
It s the second serious injury loss of the week for the Knicks, who are fighting for a playoff spot. Amare Stoudemire is out two to four weeks with a back injury, leaving the Knicks without their second- and third-leading scorers for perhaps the remainder of the regular season.