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Knicks' Iman Shumpert unlikely to return until January -- at the earliest

Iman Shumpert Iman Shumpert tore his ACL and meniscus in the Knicks' first playoff game last season. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

By Rob Mahoney

The 2012-13 Knicks are borderline geriatric. They employ four players who are 38 or older, three more who are at least 30, and just one player -- second-year guard Iman Shumpert, 22 -- who is under 27. Yet at this point, Shumpert is a member of New York's rotation in theory only; an ACL and meniscus tear has kept Shumpert out of basketball action since April, and thus far Shumpert's status has been discussed largely in the context of a fuzzy recovery timeline. Every different source has put forward a unique projected return date, with early December, Christmas, the start of the new calendar year and mid-January supposedly all in play.

Yet thanks to a report from Marc Berman of the New York Post, we now have an updated return target courtesy of Shumpert himself:

“What [media members] are saying is not what we’re going by ... January, February is what we’re aiming for. I’m just trying to get healthy. When I get healthy, I’ll return to the court. I’m not going to come back and not be able to do the things I did last year and a little more. I want to come back and add something.’’
And so the Knicks stay old -- though based on their early-season performance, there's hardly anything wrong with that. Carmelo Anthony and company have done Shumpert an incredible favor with their play thus far, and mitigated any pressure that the young guard might feel to rush back into action. That's a huge blessing for a player who's undoubtedly anxious to return, and one who could risk a serious setback if he pushes too far ahead in his rehab too quickly. In the meantime, Ronnie Brewer, Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton will tackle most of the defensive assignments that would otherwise be tasked to Shumpert, and the Knicks will be primed for a mid-season boost.

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