Jeremy Lin cheered on Aaron Brooks and the Rockets while sidelined with an injury in Game 5. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Rockets guard Jeremy Lin will be available to play Friday night in Game 6 of the team's playoff series with the Thunder, but will not be in the starting lineup.
Lin, who was limited in Game 3 and missed Game 4 after bruising a chest muscle in Game 2, was cleared to play after a Thursday workout and shooting drills on Friday.
Rockets coach Kevin McHale said he will try to work Lin into situations without disrupting the rhythm his team has established in back-to-back wins over the Thunder. Oklahoma city leads the best-of-seven series, 3-2.
“Playoff series end up having kind of a life of their own and a rhythm,” McHale said via the Houston Chronicle. “To be thrown in in the middle of that rhythm a lot of times, it’s hard to catch the rhythm. Our guys have a little bit of rhythm in this series, as Oklahoma City has a rhythm in the series. To be thrown out there – that’s why we have to be a little bit careful. Jeremy hasn’t played in a while. And not only has he not played, he hasn’t been able to shoot and do anything with any kind of contact for … a week or so or longer.
“We’ll bring him off the bench and see how much juice he has in the tank. It’s hard to enter a series when you haven’t played in a while, but we’re going to try to keep what we have going. Jeremy, we’ll try to fit him in there, see how he is and see how his arm feels. If he gets hit or anything happens.”
Houston's two wins without Lin have led some to question if the team is better off with him coming off the bench.
Lin, who made only 1 of 8 shots in 18 minutes while struggling through the injury in Game 3, said game-time would bring a rush of adrenaline that should ease his pain.
“Once game-time comes around, I probably won’t feel anything,” Lin said. “It’s been the longest week, a really, really long week. Just the fact I get to play is a huge, huge burden off of my shoulders.”