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With Stoudemire Likely Out, Knicks May Need Lin More Than Ever

MIAMI (WFAN/AP) — The Knicks sounded hopeful about Jeremy Lin’s return — and that was before Monday night’s debacle.

Hours after Lin’s latest workout, New York found themselves outmatched again by the Miami Heat. To make matters worse, forward Amar’e Stoudemire lacerated his non-throwing hand after reportedly punching a fire-extinguisher case in a postgame tantrum.

Stoudemire’s status for Game 3 is uncertain, but it doesn’t look good. If the Knicks are to upset Miami and win four out of the next five games, they’ll need some help. And fast.

Lin did some on-court work in Miami for the fourth consecutive day Monday. Game 3 isn’t until Thursday in New York. The Knicks plan to practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, and that could give them time to get a better feel for how Lin’s recovery from surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee is going.

“We haven’t run up and down in terms of being able to scrimmage or anything like that,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said before the 104-94 loss. “And that’s where the test is going to come. When he’s got to cut and guard people and push and do things of that nature, that’s the big test. And we don’t have time to practice like that. We really don’t. So basically all he’s done is drills and he’s shot the ball a lot here as of late, but only time will tell.”

The Knicks made one change to their Game 2 starting lineup, with Landry Fields among the first five after guard Iman Shumpert was lost for six to eight months with a torn ligament in his left knee after a non-contact injury in Saturday’s series opener.

Tyson Chandler was also in the lineup for the Knicks after battling flu-like symptoms for several days, along with Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Baron Davis, who has been dealing with back soreness all season.

With Davis hurting, Shumpert gone and now Stoudemire likely out, Lin — if healthy — would figure to be a boost to New York.

Lin said Sunday that he did not want to commit to a timetable for returning, noting that he’s still been unable to do some of things he would need to in game situations. Monday marked four weeks since his surgery, and the team originally expected his recovery to be a six-week process.

Lin averaged 14.2 points and 6.2 assists in 35 regular-season appearances with the Knicks. He started 25 of those games, averaging 18.2 points and 7.7 assists in those contests — including a brilliant run in February when Lin, shortly after being inserted into the lineup, scored 114 points in his first four starts and 163 in his first six, making the former Harvard guard an NBA phenomenon almost overnight.

The Knicks were 15-10 with Lin as a starter in the regular season, 21-20 when he was either coming off the bench or not in the lineup.

“He shot (Monday), went through some halfcourt offensive sets that we had put in,” Woodson said. “So he’s moving around. When he decides to play, I don’t really know at this point. We’ll probably have a better feel once we get back to New York.”

Should the Knicks rush Lin back considering Amar’e’s already-infamous injury? Sound off below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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