The New York Knicks hold a two-and-a-half game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks for the eighth and final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.
Already without Amare Stoudemire, who is out 2-4 weeks due to a bulging disk in his back, the Knicks will now be without starting point guard Jeremy Lin after an MRI revealed a slight tear to the meniscus in his left knee.
He will have a minor surgical procedure that will sideline him for six weeks, a timetable that puts him out for the regular season and the first round of the playoffs.
If the current team standings hold up, the Knicks would play the Bulls in the first round.
The two teams also are set to meet twice this month in New York on April 8 and in Chicago April 10.
Lin had missed the past three games for New York when the announcement was made by the team before tip-off of Saturdays game vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers.
We did everything we could, said Lin. Today was the one-week mark, and this morning I got on the court to see how I feel and the decision was made this morning. I cant run or cut so its pretty clear that I wont be able to help the team until I get this fixed. Its a six-week rehab process but I tend to heal quick so hopefully Ill be able to help the team this season.
The Knicks have gone 9-2 with new head coach Mike Woodson at the helm and are 3-1 without Lin in the lineup.
Lin, 23, averaged 14.6 points, 6.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds in 35 games this season.
Hes a restricted free agent this summer and after his play, starting in Jan., that helped save what had been a dismal season for the Knicks and in the process turned him into a global icon of Tim Tebow proportions its doubtful that New York doesnt match any offer he receives this summer.