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When is Rasheed Wallace coming back?


Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

I don't envision Rasheed Wallace's return making a huge difference in the Knicks' performance. The shorthanded backcourt has struggled the most, and a healthy Sheed doesn't help there, though I'm sure he'd be happy to try. But with Marcus Camby out and Amar'e Stoudemire on a minutes limit (and, so far, kinda hurting the team in the minutes he does play), Mike Woodson has resorted to leaning even harder on Tyson Chandler and exhuming Kurt Thomas off the bench. That's less than ideal. Statistically speaking, Sheed is New York's best individual defender this season, and his presence would be a major boon to some of these lineups. Yes, if you told late-September us that mid-January us would be saying stuff like that-- about a 23-13 team, no less-- our past selves would probably Gangnam Style in dismay, but I think it's true.

So, uh, is there any shot of a return sometime soon? Those murmurs of a stress fracture a couple weeks back had me assuming the foot had disintegrated and we'd never see Sheed again, but here's a little flake of hope, albeit via Marc Berman's source:

Wallace will start running next week and could make his return in London against his former team, the Pistons, according to a source.

I'm skeptical that the turnaround time from "start running" to "make his return" could ever be just a few days, but even the notion of Wallace making progress is encouraging. Whatever the case, this London trip is pretty perfectly timed, as it thins the schedule during a stretch in which the Knicks desperately need to stall while folks get healthy. On the day the team returns stateside, Iman Shumpert should be ready (Update: News just kinda broke seconds before I hit publish. Shump news going up shortly), Raymond Felton will be nearing the end of his timetable, and Sheed might not be as far off as we feared. Marcus Camby's foot could conceivably feel better by then, too (it won't, but this is the optimistic paragraph). That's over a week from now with just two games in the interim.

Full health is fleeting-- someone else is bound to get hurt soon-- but at least the Knicks' schedule is light between now and the moment some timetables expire. And who knows, maybe y'all London P&Ters really will get a chance to see Sheed in person.