New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert will play for the first time since he injured his knee on April 28, 2012, when the Knicks and Detroit Pistons clash in London at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday. Knicks head coach Mike Woodson told reporters on Thursday that Shumpert will play against the Pistons, and he even left open the possibility that the second-year guard could crack the starting lineup, according to Jonah Ballow of NYKnicks.com.
Shumpert tore the ACL in his left knee on April 28 in Game 1 of New York's first-round Eastern Conference Playoff matchup against the Miami Heat, and he has not played in a game since.
The Knicks missed their defensive ace on the perimeter during the lengthy rehabilitation process, and Shumpert is extremely excited to get back on the hardwood (via the NY Post):
"I'm excited about it and I don't care what atmosphere it has,'' said Shumpert, who tore his ACL last spring. "There doesn't have to be anyone here. It's going to be big for me either way. If nobody shows up, I'm going to have fun having my jersey on being with my guys again.''
"It's a huge relief,'' Shumpert said. "Talking about it with my mother and father about it, taking it all in, it's a long journey to get back on the court. It makes you appreciate every minute of it.''
In a strange twist, Chicago Bulls fans have been paying close attention to Shumpert's rehab as well. The Knicks guard tore his ACL on the same day that Derrick Rose suffered his knee injury in a playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers, so Bulls fans hope Shumpert's recovery will provide hints on when Rose might return to the floor.
The Knicks have lost three of their last four games, so they want Shumpert and his glorious flat-top hair style to provide the team with a boost for their game against a Pistons team that has recorded wins in five of its last seven contests. The Knicks vs. Pistons tilt will be broadcast nationally on NBATV.