Lin holds out hope he can play in Heat series

Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks

Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks speaks to the media announcing his season ending injury before the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. (March 31, 2012) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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MIAMI -- Jeremy Lin said it's possible he'll be able to play later in the Knicks' first-round playoff series against the Heat, perhaps in Game 4 Sunday.

But Lin hasn't been through a contact practice or scrimmage and he said his surgically repaired left knee was sore Sunday after a long workout Saturday.

"I was more encouraged by what I did yesterday and less encouraged by how I felt today," Lin said after the Knicks' practice. "But it's a process, ups and downs."

Lin had surgery April 2 and the Knicks said he would miss about six weeks. If he were to play in Game 4, he would be about a week ahead of schedule.

He might not be able to give the Knicks much, especially against a team that played Lin physically, rattling him and forcing him into a 1-for-11, eight-turnover game in February. In fact, the Heat probably would like to see Lin again.

But the Knicks could use the boost in the backcourt. Baron Davis is slowed by back stiffness and Iman Shumpert's season is over after he tore the ACL and lateral meniscus in his left knee Saturday in Game 1.

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"Possibly toward the end few games," Lin said. "Definitely not tomorrow or the game after or anything like that, but somewhere down the road.

"I don't really want to make a promise because I just don't know how I'm going to feel. If I felt good today, then that would be more of a possibility, but I didn't feel that great today."

The Knicks would have to be more competitive in the series for it to make sense to bring back Lin. After losing Game 1 by 33 points and with all the Knicks' injuries, it could be a quick series. Carmelo Anthony said he doesn't think Lin should come back.

"We don't want him to rush it," Anthony said. "I've seen situations like that before. That's something we do not want him to rush that."

Lin has been on the court only three times since the surgery. He walked through some plays Sunday after cutting and playing one-on-one with assistant coach Kenny Atkinson on Saturday. Lin said his knee didn't respond "great" to that.

He said he hopes to go through contact after the Knicks get home after Monday night's Game 2 and see how his knee responds before saying for sure that he will play in this series.

"I'm going to evaluate it at the end of the week," Lin said. "Hopefully, I'll feel good by then, and the main thing is to be able to play without thinking about it."

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