GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Iman Shumpert's season debut could come this week across the pond.
Mike Woodson said Shumpert could play Thursday when the Knicks face the Pistons in London. He'll have to go through at least two practices before then, and if there are no setbacks with his surgically repaired left knee, the second-year guard should be cleared to play.
"I'm excited," Shumpert said. "Just being optimistic. I've just got to make sure I go through practice hard and make sure I'm comfortable with all the coverages, make sure I got the plays down and everything."
There had been talk about letting Shumpert practice with their D-League team, the Erie BayHawks, while the Knicks are in London so he can get some scrimmages in and feel more comfortable about the knee.
"We looked at the schedule and it won't permit it," Woodson said. "He'll have to learn on the fly. I'm sure his minutes will be limited minutes. We have to bring him along gradually."
Everybody misses Ray
The Knicks have gone 3-4 since losing Raymond Felton for four to six weeks with a fractured right pinkie. Jason Kidd is playing heavy minutes, and back-to-backs have taken a toll on the 39-year-old point guard. He was scoreless with no assists Friday against Chicago and has eight points, six turnovers and three assists in the last two games.
"We're playing Kidd a lot of minutes because we are a little shorthanded," Woodson said. "From a coaching standpoint, I know it's not healthy and not good for him to play him all those minutes, but I don't have a choice at this point.''
Felton said last week he was targeting a Jan. 24 (in Boston) or Jan. 26 (in Philadelphia) return. Woodson said he hadn't heard that.
"The medical people hadn't said that to me," he said. "That's Ray just talking. I hope that's the case. But I'm just taking it a day at a time with him."