JR Smith is out for up to four months after undergoing patellar tendon surgery, and an arthroscopy for a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee.
Knick’s current timeline predicts Smith will be coming back somewhere between October 15 and November 15. JR was treated by orthopaedic Dr. Answorth Allen at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
The 27-year-old Knick’s shooting guard re-signed with the team last week. The contract runs for four years and pays Smith $24.7 million. Last season in an ageing Knicks squad, Smith averaged 18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds in 33.5 minutes per game.
With coach Woodson hinting at playing Amare under limited minutes, and rested during back-to-backs, Smith’s production will be much needed on the depleted Knickerbockers.
With Amare plagued by injuries, Smith stepped up as New York’s second scoring option behind Carmelo Anthony last season. However, during New York’s brief playoff stint, Smith struggled to find his game.
Apparently, the Knicks were aware of Smith’s knee issues prior to signing him this offseason. If the injury is much more serious than currently reported, the Knicks may miss Smith’s scoring off the bench. As with any knee injury, any setback during rehab may further jeopardise his timeline.
To some observers, it may appear as if the Knicks are naively hoping for the best with Smith’s recovery. However, at around $6 million a year they got JR at a special discount rate.
For example, Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili re-signed this summer for 2 years at approximately $7 million per year. Manu similar to JR Smith comes off the bench, but Ginobili in recent years has been an injury prone shadow of himself.
Former rookie of the year and mysteriously coveted combo-guard, Tyreke Evans landed $11 million a year for four years with the Pelicans. Tyreke has not lived up to his rookie year credentials, and was forced to play as a small SF with the dysfunctional Kings. This year Tyreke will spend next season backing up both Eric Gordon (SG) and Jrue Holiday (PG) in New Orleans.
In comparison to overpaid or unproven guards, Smith is worth the risk for the Knicks. The Knicks being a big market team, JR’s contract is an affordable risk to take for being a proven combination under head coach Woodson.
If his rehab goes smoothly, he’ll be back before the beginning of the season, giving him a couple of weeks to practice and gel with the team before the season starts.
JR knows his role on the team. Even if he misses the first few weeks of the season, Smith isn’t shy about letting it fly; he’ll be quick to shake off any rust.
If all goes wrong for the Knicks, worst case scenario; Andrea Bargnani is pushed into the spot light as the Knick’s second scoring option.
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