Iman Shumpert’s elation was felt across the social media world prior to his first official practice on Tuesday afternoon. The second-year guard tweeted that he was cleared by the doctors for full contact, paving the way for a return to game action in the near future.
“That meant the world to me, I just wanted to compete. Getting out here and being able to compete put a smile on my face for the day,” Shumpert smiled after the practice session.
While the Knicks regrouped at MSG Training Center following the loss to Boston, Shumpert participated in 3-on-3 games for the first time since falling to the floor in a playoff game in Miami last April. The 22-year old suffered a torn ACL on a freak play that cut his rookie campaign short.
Head coach Mike Woodson was pleased with Shumpert’s progress thus far, “He looked good. I mean, it was a great first day for him in terms of contact and moving around. He said he felt pretty good but we just have to take it a day at a time.”
Woodson, Shumpert, and the training staff are not ready to place a specific date on his season debut. The Knicks will practice on Wednesday before heading to Indiana and the squad will face a back-to-back situation against Chicago on Friday night. Shumpert needs significant time on the practice floor in order to regain his timing and chemistry with the team.
“I got to get enough 5-on-5’s in, 3-on-3’s in, so I’m not setting a date on it,” Shumpert explained. “Myself and the training staff just looking to do a little bit more everyday and when I’m ready we’ll know.”
Shumpert described some of the hurdles he faces in the next couple of weeks, “I think it’s more of the rhythm. I think mentally I will be fine as far as having the confidence in myself and my knee. As far as the physical things, I’ve done a great job with the training staff on getting in shape, so it’s all about getting out there and testing and getting back into the swing of things, knowing calls, knowing all the defensive schemes, and trusting myself to go out there and not mess up the rhythm of the team.”
The Knicks are close to full strength as Shumpert moves closer to the lineup. Amar’e Stoudemire jumped back into action last week, Rasheed Wallace is day-to-day, and Raymond Felton should be a couple of weeks away as he waits for his fractured pinky finger to heal.
New York faces the Pacers on Thursday night at 8 PM with all the coverage on MSG Networks.