Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
Knicks guard Iman Shumper is getting closer and closer to a return from ACL surgery, and could make his season debut on Thursday against the Pistons.
Shumpert tore his left ACL and lateral meniscus back on April 28 in the Knicks' Game 1 loss to the Miami Heat in the first round of the 2012 playoffs. Shumpert had surgery on his knee a few days later and has been rehabbing ever since. The guard was cleared for full contact practice earlier this week.
The return of Shumpert will be huge for the Knicks, who have lost three games in a row and are currently dealing with numerous injury problems. Shumpert will eventually slide nicely into the starting shooting guard slot, which was most recently held by James White in New York's 108-101 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Friday night. Ronnie Brewer has started most of the year at shooting guard, but he has been ineffective for the last month and did not play against the Bulls.
While Shumpert did struggle at times offensively in his rookie season, his real impact came on the defensive end. The guard established himself as one of the Knicks' best perimeter defenders last year, and his presence will be much welcomed on a team that has fallen off defensively after a hot start.