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“I can’t really do much. Can’t really cut or jump, so it’s pretty clear that I won’t be able to help the team unless I get this fixed right now,” Lin said before the Knicks played Cleveland. “It’s disappointing for me, it’s hard to watch the games and I think I’d want to be out there obviously more than anything right now. But hopefully, it’s a six-week rehab process but I tend to heal fast, so hopefully I can come back as soon as possible and still contribute this season hopefully.”

It’s the second serious injury loss of the week for the Knicks, who are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Amare Stoudemire is out two to four weeks with a back injury, leaving the Knicks without their second- and third-leading scorers for perhaps the remainder of the regular season.

Davis still isn’t 100 percent after a herniated disk in his back kept him out of action until February. The Knicks also have Mike Bibby and Toney Douglas, plus rookie Iman Shumpert as point guard options, but none as good as Lin.

“We’ve got to go on, but he’s a big piece of our puzzle and what we were doing as of late before he actually went out,” interim coach Mike Woodson said. “All’s not bad. Again, we’ve got three veteran point guards sitting over there and the rookie we could play some at the point. We’re just going to have to make do until he’s able to get back into uniform. But it is a big blow.”

Lin flourished in D'Antoni’s offense, and there was immediate speculation he would struggle _ or even lose his starting spot _ when Woodson replaced him on March 14. Instead, Lin kept on rolling, leading the Knicks to six wins in seven games before he was hurt.

Woodson said he’s known of players that have played through meniscus tears, but that only Lin knows his body. Lin knew he would need surgery eventually, but hoped to delay it until after the season.

“He’s elected to have the surgery and we’ve got to respect that, because only he knows the pain that he’s feeling. And there is a problem, so it’s got to be fixed,” Woodson said.

The Knicks had already tried three point guards when they finally turned to Lin, who had been cut by Golden State and Houston before signing with the Knicks. D'Antoni immediately elevated him to the starting lineup after his performance against the Nets, and Lin responded with the greatest beginning stretch ever for a starter.

He was the first player with at least 20 points and seven assists in each of his first five starts since the Elias Sports Bureau began charting starts in 1970. He had a 3-pointer to win a game in Toronto, scored 38 points to outplay Kobe Bryant in a national TV victory over the Lakers, then had 28 points and 14 assists in another nationally televised victory over the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks.

All along, the frenzy around him increased. Commissioner David Stern said he had never seen so much interest created by one player in such a short period of time. Knicks games were picked up by TV stations in basketball-crazed Asia, and Lin actually pleaded for privacy for his family in Taiwan.

Lin will be a free agent after the season and said he hopes to return to New York, but otherwise wasn’t thinking that far in the future.

“I’m not even worried about that right now,” he said. “It’s not like a career-ending thing or it’s not something that will bother me. Once it’s fixed, it’s fixed, it’s the most simple surgery you can have and so I’m more concerned about the season.”

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