Iman Shumpert: 'It meant the world to me' to be back at practice

Injured Iman Shumpert of the Knicks looks on

Injured Iman Shumpert of the Knicks looks on during a timeout against the Boston Celtics. (Jan. 7, 2013) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Iman Shumpert took a major step toward returning to the Knicks' lineup Tuesday when he participated in three-on-three drills during practice.

The second-year swingman was cleared for contact practice for the first time since undergoing knee surgery in May. He had been practicing with the team in a non-contact capacity for the last week.

"It was a great day for him in terms of contact and moving around," Mike Woodson said. "He said he felt pretty good, but he's still on the mend. Tomorrow will be an important day to see how he feels. But I liked what I saw."

Neither Woodson nor Shumpert was ready to put a timetable on his return. Shumpert tore his ACL and meniscus in his left knee during a first-round playoff game against the Heat last April. Shumpert revealed on Twitter that he had been cleared for practice, adding that "I live for games like last night" in reference to the Knicks' closely contested loss to Boston.

"It meant the world to me," Shumpert said when asked what it felt like to practice. "I just want to be able to get out there and compete."

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