Surgery to repair Jeremy Lin’s ruptured right patella tendon on Friday was pronounced “successful” — isn’t it always? — in a statement from the Nets, who said he will miss this season and make a “full recovery” for the 2018-19 season. But there are no guarantees, and general manager Sean Marks forcefully foreclosed any attempt by Lin to return this season.
Asked if Lin’s recovery timetable is a matter of them being cautious or because the injury was catastrophic, Marks said: “He had the MRI [Thursday] and that was revealed: torn patella. Now, after the surgery, it’s clear. He’ll be out for the season, so we’ll move on.”
Reminded that the Nets took it slowly last season with Lin when he suffered two hamstring injuries that limited him to 36 games, Marks was asked if this is similar. “No, we’re not even going to go down that road,” he said. “With Jeremy, it’s pretty clear. You don’t return from these injuries quickly. But again, I think he’s expecting a full recovery, we’re expecting a full recovery.”
Prompted to define “full recovery,” Marks equivocated, which is prudent because he’s not a doctor. But he said the team is confident in Dr. Riley Williams III, who performed the procedure at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
“I think we’ve got to trust our doctors, our medical team or performance team to do the rehab,’’ Marks said. “I don’t want to jump to conclusions and say we’re expecting him to be ready on this particular day or that this is how he’s going to perform. I have supreme confidence in what the staff has done and what they’re going to do for the rehab, but also have a lot of confidence in the young man Jeremy is.
“He’s going to push himself and you can never question the hard work and how diligent he is to his craft, and I think that’s something that he’ll take into the rehab. We saw that last year.”
Marks said the Nets will sorely miss not only Lin’s playmaking but the example he set as a role model. The outpouring of sentiment from his teammates on social media made clear the regard in which Lin is held.
Coach Kenny Atkinson, who spent much of Friday morning with Lin at the hospital, spoke of their long friendship and how that makes the injury even harder to handle. Atkinson worried about how the injury might affect the Nets in their home opener Friday night against Orlando at Barclays Center.
Comparing Lin’s injury to the fractured leg suffered by the Celtics’ Gordon Hayward, Atkinson said: “For the team, I think it’s a shock. You’re right next to it, you feel it, it’s your teammate, your guy you’re in the trench with. And to see that happen, I definitely think guys were affected by it. There were some comments about it. When that happens, it hits home. It’s tough, but I think it will be good therapy for us to battle with Orlando.”