Jeremy Lin's Return: Could It Actually Hurt the New York Knicks?

Sam Quinn@@Samquinn23Contributor IIIApril 30, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 21: Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks drives around Spencer Hawes #00 of the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 21, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

After hearing reports that Jeremy Lin might return for Game 4 of the Knicks-Heat series, I have to say I'm conflicted.

On one hand, it could create a legendary Madison Square Garden moment—a modern day "and here comes Willis!" If Jeremy Lin came back and gave the Knicks anything, it would be such a huge mental boost for the rest of the team. It could swing the series.

But think about the risk.

Jeremy Lin is a big part of the Knicks' future, and they just lost Iman Shumpert to a torn ACL. The last thing the Knicks need is to lose another young star long-term.

And honestly, are we sure that bringing back Lin would really help? Remember what happened last time Lin played against Miami? Exactly.

What about the Lin-Carmelo Anthony dynamic? Carmelo is having enough trouble co-existing with Amar'e Stoudemire. Throwing Lin into the mix might be more trouble than it's worth.

If the Knicks decide to bring Jeremy Lin back for the first round, they have to be very smart about how they do it.

He needs to come off of the bench and be a spark plug. His main purpose needs to be morale and getting the fans riled up. Letting Jeremy Lin pick up his old workload while injured against Miami would be a disaster.

I'd recommend around 15 minutes per game if he comes back. Let him be an asset but not the star. This is Carmelo's team now, and it's not worth jeopardizing that for Linsanity.  

Bringing Lin back should be determined by what happens tonight.

If the Knicks can steal home court from the Heat, this series is really on. The Knicks should do everything possible to win it. But if they get blown out again, the series is as good as over. Why risk Lin getting hurt again in a series that's already been decided?

The Knicks need to monitor Lin's health closely. He is too important to the future of the organization to play prematurely.

But if he's ready to go and the series hasn't been decided, the morale boost alone could swing the series in New York's favor.