New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith’s recent interview with ESPN New York focused on his disdain for former Boston Celtics and current Brooklyn Nets small forward Paul Pierce. While there were several interesting quotes involving Pierce to come from Smith, the biggest news involves the reigning Sixth Man of the Year’s knee. According to Ian Begley of ESPN New York, Smith may not be ready for the Knicks’ season opener as he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery.
News of the surgery came out shortly after the Knicks re-signed Smith to a four-year, $24.7 million contract. At the time the surgery was announced, New York indicated that they knew of Smith’s knee condition, and the procedure it required, when they inked him to the new contract.
Following the operation, New York estimated that Smith would be sidelined for three to four months. That placed his return between the middle of October and November. It’s unclear how close to this return timeframe he remains, but he has been cleared to resume light activities.
New York will be counting on more of the same production from Smith that earned him praise and his new deal. While it’s never good to be without a player the caliber of Smith for the start of a new season, it would be better for the Knicks to take it slow with his recovery to ensure that once he does return he’ll be good to go for the full campaign rather than rush him back and risk complications.