Iman Shumpert hopes to return by January.

Apr 28, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert (21) during the first half of game one in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

On April 28th (one of the most unpleasant days of basketball spectating I can remember), Iman Shumpert tore the ACL and lateral meniscus in his left knee. Shump got surgery on that knee a few days later, and it was reported that he'd miss six to eight months for reshumpification. Yesterday, while making an appearance for an NBA thing at South Street Seaport (the day after I was there, much to my chagrin), Shump spoke to reporters and leaned toward the latter end of that range:

"The target date [for my return] is January," Shumpert told The Post.

"It feels great," Shumpert said of his knee. "[The rehab] is going well. I’ve got a great training staff with me, and I trust them 100 percent. I’m going to them Monday through Friday, and on the weekends I just ice it and do regular stuff."

It's possible that Shump's overshooting his projection so as to limit expectations and prepare heartsick Knick fans for the worst. Or maybe he really is healing at an eight-month rate (he did just start walking a few days ago). A sixth-month recovery would have Shump healthy right around the beginning of the regular season, while a January return obviously means a whole mess o' missed games before Shump takes the court.

Whether he's being realistic or overly cautious with his projection, one hopes that the Knicks will plan for the worst-case scenario and stock the roster with enough decent guards to offset Shump's absence. Pretty much the entire backcourt (besides Toney Douglas! Hi Toney! Whatcha doing, buddy? Snacking on popsicles? Well, I hope you're also shooting jumpers sometimes! That popsicle looks great, though! What is that, lime? Terrific!) needs to be re-signed, and Shump's unavailability only puts more pressure on the Knicks to either get those bros new contracts or find some other guards. Even with more injuries, it'd be a damn shame for the Knicks to open 2012-2013 with an even shallower backcourt than they had this past season. This is where you come in, Kenneth W. Dam. Throw us a bone, Kenneth.

In the meantime, get right, Shump. We want you back healthier and shumpier than ever...but it'd also be pretty great to have you back before the new year. Thaaaaanks.

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