UPDATE: Saturday, Jan. 26, at 10:56 a.m. ET by Tyler Conway
The moment Knicks fans have been waiting for has finally arrived, as Felton will make his return to the starting lineup on Saturday night versus the Philadelphia 76ers, according to Al Iannazzone of Newsday:
Raymond Felton is starting. Jason Kidd is playing and starting. Iman Shumpert is starting at 3 tonight.— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) January 26, 2013
With all three top guards starting on Saturday, it will be interesting to see whether Mike Woodson is making a permanent change or this is simply an experiment. Either way, it will certainly be interesting to see Shumpert guarding the 3 spot.
---End of update---
UPDATE: Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7:01 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
According to Newsday reporter Al Iannazzone, Felton has been cleared for contact and hopes to play Saturday:
Felton has been cleared for contact. Will practice tomorrow. Hopes to play Saturday but is willing to wait until next week.
— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) January 24, 2013
---End of update---
UPDATE: Sunday, January 6 at 10:45 a.m. ET
Great news for Knicks fans as Raymond Felton (finger) is expected to return later this month, according to Newsday's Al Iannazzone.
Raymond Felton is relieved that he didn't need surgery on his right hand and believes he can return in late January, the week after the Knicks return from London.
Felton said if he had required surgery to repair the fracture in his right pinkie that he suffered Dec. 25 against the Lakers, he would have missed eight to 12 weeks because 'they would have had to put in pins and screws.' No surgery made it four to six weeks. Felton is shooting for closer to four.
---End of Update---
UPDATE: Thursday, December 27 at 9:20 a.m. ET
Awful news for Knicks fans as Raymond Felton (finger) says that his injury may require surgery, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman.
Raymond Felton, the team’s starting point guard, said last night he has a fracture in his right pinkie, discovered following an X-ray. He added he will likely need surgery and be out four to six weeks...
...Felton will fly to New York tomorrow and see a hand specialist to confirm the next course of action, a Knicks official said.
'I may need surgery,’ Felton said. ‘I got to do what’s best for my hand so I can get back and help this team.'
---End of Update---
Newsday reporter Neil Best reported on Wednesday night exactly what that injury is:
Raymond Felton has a fracture in his pinkie. Knicks will decide what to do next upon return to ny— Neil Best (@sportswatch) December 27, 2012
New York Post reporter Marc Berman believes that Felton's injury could keep him out of the lineup for a while:
Felton said likely surgery on broken pinkie that would keep him out four to six weeks.— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) December 27, 2012
This is a big loss no matter how you cut it. Felton won't ever be mentioned in the same breath as Chris Paul or Rajon Rondo, but he's done an excellent job so far for Mike Woodson's squad.
In nearly 34 minutes per game, Felton is dropping around 16 points. He's also averaging just over six assists and almost three rebounds per contest. While those numbers may not land him in the Hall of Fame, they're a major reason that the Knicks have found early-season success.
His perimeter shooting will also be missed. He shoots around 33 percent for his career from beyond the arc, but he's just over 35 percent this season. That's not a major uptick, but it's enough that it helps.
Felton has done an excellent job of forcing defenses to respect him. He's limited his turnovers, played aggressively and made defenders guard him. Because of his confidence, he's been able to take opposing players off the dribble and pull up or find an open teammate.
With Felton out, Jason Kidd could play a lot more point guard than he has all season long. It will be up to him and Pablo Prigioni to steer the ship in Felton's absence.
New York shouldn't be terribly worried, but Felton's play has been enlightening this season. He's a leader and a hard worker, and his offensive skills have been extremely valuable.
Kidd and Prigioni will be fine for the time being, but the Knicks will be eagerly awaiting Felton's return to the lineup.