Injured New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton has returned to limited practice and is shooting for a return to the lineup on Jan. 26 against the Philadelphia 76ers, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Felton has been sidelined since fracturing his right pinky on Christmas Day. The Knicks have struggled a bit in Felton's absence, going just 4-5 in the nine games he has missed.
While Felton is a rather inefficient scorer, his ability to penetrate and create helped open up the Knicks' offense during their hot start. Jason Kidd was able to act mainly as a deadly spot-up shooter, and Carmelo Anthony spent a lot of time at the 4. But with Felton out, Kidd has moved over to point guard and the Knicks have gone bigger, and the results have been mixed. At the age of 39, Kidd does not have the ability to consistently break down defenses off the dribble anymore, which has often led to stagnant offense.
SB Nation's Knicks blog Posting and Toasting would certainly prefer Felton to be ready for big games against the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics prior to that Sixers game, but it is not complaining. The fact that Felton will likely be back by the end of January is a positive, because that puts him on the low end of the initial four-to-six week prognosis. And as mentioned above, having Felton in the lineup means everybody can go back to the roles they were playing at the start of the year.