If the loss of Amar'e Stoudemire wasn't damaging enough to the Knicks' playoff hopes, they got even worse news Saturday evening.
Point guard Jeremy Lin will be out six weeks with a small chronic meniscus tear in his left knee, the team announced. It will require surgery to repair.
"Our goal was to give it five to seven days and see how I react," Lin told reporters before Saturday night's game. "I knew there would be surgery at some point."
Lin has missed the last three games for the Knicks, but his injury was originally thought to be minor. When Stoudemire was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his lower back, Lin was diagnosed with a sore knee the same day. It was Stoudemire's injury that garnered headlines as Lin was listed as day-to-day.
Speculation grew worse though when Lin avoided the media yesterday, something he had never done previously.
After the loss against the Hawks Friday night head coach Mike Woodson hinted at the severity of Lin's injury for the first time.
"Still day to day," Woodson told reporters after the Friday morning shootaround. "Amare's out. Had his epidural shot yesterday. He’s day-to-day with Lin. I have no idea when these guys are going to return, if they're going to return. I just don't know."
Woodson said Saturday night the team would work with what they have, meaning Baron Davis, who is banged up himself, will continue to start. Mike Bibby has been the backup.
The regular season ends on April 26, which is just four weeks away. The Knicks currently stand in the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but have just a 1.5 game lead on Milwaukee. Should they make the playoffs, it appears as though Lin wouldn't be ready for the first round.
Lin, of course, broke onto the scene with a 25-point game off the bench against New Jersey on Feb. 4. He immediately joined the starting lineup and Linsanity was born during a seven-game winning streak that began against the Nets. He led the team in scoring in five of those seven wins.
The craze has died down, but Lin had settled into a solid position in the starting lineup even with the switch to Woodson as head coach. Lin is averaging 14.6 points and 6.1 assists per game.
The Knicks host a struggling Cleveland team Saturday night at 7:30 p.m., but play four of their next five on the road finishing that stretch at the Bucks on April 11.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.