The Brooklyn Nets still don’t have a definitive timetable for Jeremy Lin’s return from his latest hamstring injury, leaving the feisty point guard angst and disappointed about his return New York City.
“It’s been difficult,” said Lin, signed by the Nets over the summer to pair with All-Star center Brook Lopez as the main cogs of the Net’s offense. “The night that I got hurt I didn’t feel like talking or was just not in a place where I had anything to say to really anybody.”
In all, Lin has suited up for just 12 of the Nets’ first 33 games. And Brooklyn has paid the price for not having the man they signed to a three-year, $36 million deal available to them.
Currently, they sit at a league-worse 8-25, a staggering eight full games behind the Chicago Bulls for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Making matters all the more frustrating for all those involved, when Lin’s been able to play he’s largely been just what the Nets expected, averaging 14 points, six assists and three rebounds.
One of his biggest highlights of the season was a 17 point, four assists effort in just 22 minutes against his old Charlotte Hornets team in a 120-118 victory. But in a scene all too familiar for Nets fans this season, Lin re-aggravated a hamstring pull before the night was over that sent him to the bench for much of the second half.
In his absence, the team has been forced to turn to rookie point guard and Brooklyn-native Isaiah Whitehead.
“I think the whole process has been not what I anticipated in terms of getting the opportunity to be on this team,” Lin recently admitted. “But I think that’s life. I think it’s more how you respond from it.”
As for the whole rehab routine, it’s become something Lin would rather not have to have any more personal experience with dealing with.
“It does feel like kind of Groundhog Day, this thing all over again, or the rehab days all over again,” he said.
After missing 17 straight games at one point, Lin recently returned to action, only to suffer yet another hamstring pull that the team still insists isn’t related to the first strain.
Either way, the pain of the whole situation has been practically unbearable for the 28-year-old veteran guard. But he insists he’s committed to seeing it all through.
“It’s like, ‘I’m given this. How can I still pour into my teammates, or who can I study the game?” he said. “I know in a lot of ways a lot of the setbacks or things that I’ve really not enjoyed in my life have been the most valuable for me in terms of a learning experience.”
As things stand, Lin maintains things are progressing well and the team insists all the soreness he’s experiencing being in a different spot from his first injury is positive sign. Lin reports he’s already started shooting, adding though nothing is concrete he hopes to be back in the lineup sooner rather than later.
“Everything’s progressing better than the previous one, so I’m definitely very encouraged,” he said. “Yeah, definitely if it was the same exact spot, it’d be a different tune.”
While Lin and Coach Kenny Atkinson have both pretty much agreed that things may never again be what they were doing the era of “Linsanity,” both leave little question about the impact they feel Lin can have on his young and impressionable teammates when he is in a groove.
“This is a totally different role for Jeremy,” said Atkinson. “I think part of the reason he came to Brooklyn is to see, to prove to everybody that he can be a starting point guard in this league. We believe it.”
[Featured Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images]