MIAMI - Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin said his surgically repaired left knee was sore Sunday after training on Saturday, but he wouldn't rule out a return in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
"I was more encouraged by what I did yesterday and less encouraged by how I felt today," Lin said after the Knicks trained Sunday in Miami, where they were blown out by the Heat in game one of their Eastern Conference first-round series on Saturday. "But it's a process, ups and downs."
Lin had surgery on April 2 to repair a meniscus tear and the Knicks said he would miss about six weeks. If he were to make it back for game four of the Miami series, scheduled for next Sunday, he would be ahead of schedule.
Lin was careful Sunday not to promise a first-round return, although he indicated there was a chance, especially if the series goes beyond four games.
"If I felt good today, then that would be more of a possibility, but I didn't feel that great today," he said.
So far Lin's rehabilitation has not included contact practice, instead focusing largely on drills.
"I can do the drills, a lot of basic cutting," he said. "I think when I can take a hit and when I can cut at full speed and not think about it, that's what I'm waiting for."
Lin, an American whose parents are from Taiwan, became a global sensation as the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA when he was plucked from the bench in February due to injuries to Knicks stars.
The Harvard graduate had been cut by two other teams and was days away from seeing his NBA dreams end before the Knicks gave him a look.
With drives to the basket, pinpoint passes and top shooting efforts even in the final seconds, Lin sparked a seven-game win streak for the Knicks and built a following known as "Linsanity" that kept him in the lineup long after the streak ended and the stars returned.
However, he didn't fare well against the Heat, whose physical play forced him into eight turn-overs and 1-of-11 shooting in a game in February.