Jeremy Lin needed a chance, the New York Knicks needed a spark, and together they were a perfect match in February.
Lin saved his career and salvaged New York’s season, and for three weeks the Knicks and their little-known point guard made basketball matter again at Madison Square Garden.
New York fans loved him, but Lin’s popularity reached far beyond them. A US-born Asian and Ivy League graduate, he was nothing like the opponents he was suddenly outplaying on a nightly basis.
It was an amazing, inspiring story, but ultimately “Lincomplete.”
Lin won’t be able to help the Knicks reach the playoffs. He probably has lost the chance to match up against the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose or some other point guard with the season on the line.
He is headed for surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, with an expected six-week recovery time meaning the Knicks will only still be playing if someone takes hold of the offense the way he did two months ago.
It’s too soon for Lin to describe what he went through this season, knowing the journey has likely ended long before the finish.
“This season’s been, when you talk about ups and downs, this has been a lot of downs and a lot of ups,” Lin said. “And at the end of the day I’m still thankful to be here, thankful to be part of the Knicks, to see this team, how we’ve grown, and how we’re going to make a push for the playoffs and hopefully go deep in the playoffs. I think as a team we’re doing OK and we’re going to be just fine, but it’s obviously been a very emotional year.”
Lin will be a restricted free agent this summer, allowing the Knicks to match any offer made to him. However, Woodson may not be back and general manager Glen Grunwald also wears an interim tag.
Whenever he returns, some doubters will be waiting, wondering if he’s lost a step after having surgery for the first time in his life or if someone else’s offense will be too much of an adjustment.
After what Lin accomplished in just two months, writing him off would be “Linsane.”