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Knicks' J.R. Smith out 12-16 weeks with lateral meniscus tear

By Zach Harper | NBA writer

Smith will be sidelined for up to 16 weeks after knee surgery. (USATSI)
J.R. Smith will be sidelined for up to 16 weeks after knee surgery. (USATSI)

New York Knicks' guard J.R. Smith agreed to a four-year, $24 million with the team as a free agent when free agency opened. After winning Sixth Man of the Year for the 2012-13 season as a reserve scoring option for New York, Smith made sure to cash in for as much as the Knicks could conceivably offer him without leaving too much money on the table.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Smith will be ready to join the Knicks for training camp when they come together in late September, early October to try to improve on last year's 54-win season. The Knicks' PR Twitter account announced on Monday that Smith had patella tendon surgery for a tear in his lateral meniscus and he'll be sidelined for 12 to 16 weeks.

This is the same injury that both Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chase Budinger of the Minnesota Timberwolves had during the 2012-13 season. Budinger missed four months during the regular season but managed to play 23 games. Westbrook was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round when Patrick Beverley of the Houston Rockets crashed into him near the sideline.

Smith will likely be back sometime between mid-October and mid-November, if the timetable provided by the Knicks is on the mark. The Knicks signed Metta World Peace to a contract on Monday after he was amnestied by the Los Angeles Lakers, but this could really affect the scoring options in the backcourt for the Knicks until Smith is back and fully recovered.

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