James Carlucci

NBA Wired

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Linsanity Beware

May 4, 2012

Jeremy Lin needs to fight the urge to return. Pride and a desire to compete are common traits in most successful athletes, but in this case, pride and desire need to be tempered in favor of reality and caution.

The NBA can't afford to lose both of these young fellas.

The New York Knicks are down 3-0 in their series with the Miami Heat and have struggled to defend LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. With the roll that duo is on, there is no way the Knicks can take four in a row. Giving up is out of the question, but giving up Jeremy Lin to the whim of the injury gods can't happen either. It can't happen.

Especially with the recent Derrick Rose ACL tear. Although it can't be proven in this particular case, there is a chance that Rose's non-contact injury last week was partially caused by Rose returning from injury too soon. With his leg muscles weakened, the ligament may have had too much stress on it when Rose pushed off the floor.

Lin doesn't have Rose's vertical explosion- the two players have different styles and strengths- but Lin's bread-and-butter is using his surprisingly quick first step to get past the primary defender and then using his crafty ball-handling and quick change of direction to spear through the help defense and into the paint. There's a lot of planting and pushing off involved. Lin has only played big-time minutes this season, so extra caution is sensible. 

It'd break millions of basketball hearts to see two 23-year-old point guards hurt their legs in the same postseason. You know David Stern doesn't want the health of an integral global basketball figure jeopardized. Amare Stoudemire would probably break his foot kicking a fire hydrant in disgust following a Lin injury.

It's not worth Lin's future. Game four is not worth it, and this series is no longer worth it. Mike Woodson should focus on getting the ball to Carmelo Anthony in favorable scoring positions, not figuring out if or when Lin will return this season. Cede Miami the conference this year and get ready to take it from them next year with Lin at the offensive helm. Any other decision is insanity.

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