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Baron Davis close to making his Knicks' debut

Injured Baron Davis of the New York Knicks

Injured Baron Davis of the New York Knicks looks on against the New Jersey Nets during their preseason game at Madison Square Garden. (Dec. 21, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Baron Davis is almost ready to make his Knicks’ debut.

It could come Sunday against Dallas, Monday against the Nets or Wednesday at Atlanta. But Davis “can go,” according to coach Mike D’Antoni, and the veteran guard said he expects to play before the All-Star break begins next week.

It’s funny how things have changed in the last two weeks, though.

When the Knicks lost 11 out of 13 they were pointing to Davis as the missing piece of the puzzle. Then Jeremy Lin came out of nowhere. Now Davis’ return, like everything else with the Knicks these days, is secondary to Lin. Davis went from being the savior to another good player off the bench whenever he makes his Knicks’ debut.

“Now I’m not the savior?” Davis said with a big laugh after practice today. “I’m fine with that. Whatever I can do to help the team win. That’s why they signed me.

“They know I can come in here and help when I’m 100 percent healthy. I think we’re still working towards getting to 100 percent, but it does take a lot of pressure off of me kinda speeding up the rehab process, trying to get back out there.

“Jeremy is doing an excellent job. To be able to come in and give him some spot minutes here and there, and continue to build on my conditioning and my rehab, I think I only make the team better.”

Davis has been sidelined with a herniated disc in his back. He also said he suffered an infection in his elbow that slowed down his rehab. But he’s picked up his workouts recently.

He went through some 5-on-none work Saturday as the Knicks watched film and walked through in preparation for tomorrow, and then Davis played 3-on-3.

He was asked how much confidence he has in his back holding up.

“Uh,” Davis said, “a lot, and a little. It’s all right when you’re out here playing 2-on-2, 3-on-3 fullcourt or working out by yourself. It’ll be interesting to get some 5-on-5. But considering there’s not a lot of practices, the games will be the only test to see where I stand.

“I’m not afraid to go out there and do what I need to do, because I’m confident in where I am with my rehab and I think the trainers and the medical staff they’re confident watching me out there work out. So I’ll be ready to do whatever, whenever my number is called.”

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