Iman Shumpert closer to making healthy return

Iman Shumpert practices during Knicks training camp at

Iman Shumpert practices during Knicks training camp at the Madison Square Garden Training Center. (Oct. 7, 2012) (Credit: James Escher)

Iman Shumpert believes he's close to rejoining the Knicks and regaining his athleticism and lateral movement.

Much of the second-year guard's game is predicated on those things. Shumpert had some early doubts but now is confident he will return to being the player he was before undergoing surgery May 2 to repair a torn left ACL and lateral meniscus.

"When my knee was swelled up, I think I had doubts," Shumpert said. "But now I can sort of feel myself getting back to where I was. Of course, I'm not going to be exactly what I was; I won't be peaking or anything. I know that with time and with work, I'll get back to where I was and even more."

Shumpert's knee has to be tested before he's cleared for five-on-five contact. That could be this week, but how many practices he'll need before he can play in games is uncertain. Though Shumpert is antsy to return, he said he will follow the doctors' orders.

"I feel like I can do pretty much everything," he said. "But that's why you've got to listen to the doctors because I'm just young and I just want to play. So part of it is me just being competitive and wanting to play. But we're going to read the data and make sure everything is OK. If I feel any pain, I'm not going to do no more."

Although the Knicks are 23-10, they've missed Shumpert's defense. Last season, he showed he can shut down perimeter players, particularly late in games. But he doesn't feel the need to rush back.

"I'm just adding another aspect to the team," he said. "Even if I took another two months, I feel like we'd be fine. This team is not a team that relies on a certain somebody. As you've seen, we've lost plenty of guys throughout the season and still find ways to win."

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