Amid Controversy Over Timing of Surgery, Knicks Hoping J.R. Will Be Ready for Start of Season | Zagsblog
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Monday / February 6.
  • Amid Controversy Over Timing of Surgery, Knicks Hoping J.R. Will Be Ready for Start of Season

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    Amid swirling controversy about the timing of J.R. Smith’s knee surgery, the Knicks said they hoped the reigning Sixth Man of the Year would be ready for the start of the upcoming season.

    “Hopefully, he’ll be ready by the time the regular season rolls around,” Knicks GM Glen Grunwald said Tuesday.

    “He’s commited to doing all the rebab and getting himself back as soon as possible. J.R. has always been good in that regard in terms of doing his work and we’re very hopeful that he’ll be back by the time the regular season rolls around.”

    The Knicks announced Monday that Smith — who recently what is now being reported as a three-year deal worth about $18 million — would miss 12-16 weeks with¬†patella tendon surgery and arthroscopy on his left knee — which would put his return in mid-October to mid-November.

    The Knicks have taken some heat for announcing the surgery four days after announcing the deal and nearly two months after the season ended May 19.

    In fairness to them, it is Smith’s decision when to undergo surgery and he probably didn’t want news of it to impact his free agency status.

    “The decision is J.R.’s and he wanted to give it a chance to heal without having to have surgery,” Grunwald said.

    He added: “J.R. had this problem all of last season even before training camp started. He was struggling with the knee problem. To his credit he battled through it the whole year and was a real warrior for us.”

    Smith did not play well in the postseason, especially after being suspended one game for elbowing Jason Terry of the Celtics in the face. His poor play was ascribed to late-night partying, but his father, Earl Smith Sr., told the New York Post it had more to do with his knee.

    “At the end of the season we knew it was probably likely that he would have surgery but we wanted to see how it would react with a little bit of rest,” Grunwald said. “We went through that period of time not unlike we did with Melo and his shoulder ¬†and it turns out that the best thing for him and for us is to get the surgery done now.”



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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.