According to the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen, Lin's recovery from offseason knee surgery is going slower than initially thought, and he is unlikely to play big minutes in the Rockets' preseason opener.
Here is what Lin said to Feigen, via the Houston Chronicle:
My speed and my explosiveness and my agility (are not) there yet. I’m still trying to recover from knee surgery and get to where I was pre-surgery. I probably won’t get to play too much. Hopefully, as the preseason goes on I’ll get to play more and more to build that endurance.
While that news may seem like a setback, Lin's injury should not hurt the Rockets long-term—even if it stretches into the regular season.
Here is a look at a few reasons why:
The Rockets Aren't Going to the Playoffs This Season, Anyway
Regardless of when Lin returns to full strength, he won't be manning the point guard spot for a team that has any chance of postseason glory.
The roster currently boasts just two rotation players over the age of 26 and the team will likely move at least one of them (Kevin Martin) by the trade deadline. Despite an abundant amount of talent with these players, the Rockets' youngsters simply are not seasoned enough to compete in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
This is a team that has been in full rebuild mode from the moment the Rockets lost out on their well-publicized attempts to land a superstar this offseason.
Playing on a lottery team affords Lin plenty of room to err on the side of caution in this situation.
This is a Long-Term Move, Not a Headline Grab
Though Lin is an overnight sensation that will move jerseys by the boatload and create a spike in the Rockets franchise, Daryl Morey is not the type of general manager who makes desperation moves.
Highly criticized in the offseason for his signings of Lin and Omer Asik, you have to believe in Morey's methods until they backfire.
That means having faith in Lin, who despite a big-time start with the Knicks, is a definite work in progress. The former Harvard point guard struggles mightily with turnovers and oftentimes forces penetration when kicking the ball out is the better option.
Luckily, those deficiencies are both fixable with the right coaching staff to mentor Lin. It may take a while to make him a truly efficient NBA point guard, but if Kevin McHale is able to do so, that $25.1 million price tag may not seem so hefty.
A Torn Meniscus is Not a Debilitating Injury
If we were talking about Lin's struggles to come back from a torn ACL or microfracture surgery, this would be a completely different conversation.
As a guard whose game is predicated on beating defenders off the dribble, any downtick in speed or quickness could be the death knell for Lin's effectiveness.
However, this is simply a torn meniscus. Even if Lin's body heals slower than most, it's an injury that basketball players recover from on a regular basis without long-term issues.
That changes if the knee becomes a recurring frustration. However, for now, it just seems like the Rockets are being extremely cautious with their investment.
Considering the team's outlook for 2012-13, that's the absolute best course of action.