Two weeks ago against the Atlanta Hawks, Jeremy Lin was hit badly on the knee by Paul Millsap, knocking him out with a knee contusion that would later be diagnosed as a sprain of the knee, and keeping him out of action these last two weeks. Today, Lin said at practice that he will in fact return to action on Thursday against Portland, giving the Rockets a big boost to a bench that has missed him since he went out.
Lin has been the Rockets' most consistent option at point guard this season, flourishing in a bench role that gives him more freedom and time on top of the ball, shooting over 50% from the floor and 39% from three point distance. With his contributions, the downgrade from the starters to the bench has not be noticeable at all. Additionally, Lin's ability to swing over to shooting guard with James Harden hurt was a luxury that the Rockets missed during his absence.
Aaron Brooks has been playing well and Patrick Beverley remains a tremendous defensive weapon for the Rockets, but there is no doubt that the Rockets were in need of one more playmaker to bring off the bench when Harden leaves the game. Lin has supplied that when healthy and the Rockets have to feel better about their chances in Portland on Thursday night with Lin in uniform.
With Greg Smith and Omer Asik also likely back soon, the Rockets are nearly at full strength. Let's hope that trend continues and they can hit their stride during this important stretch of the season.