We've talked previously about the complexity of the Knicks' shooting guard position, particularly with respect to the starting lineup. Iman Shumpert is hurt. J.R. Smith is Mike Woodson's idea of a sixth man, not a starter. Until recently, that left Woodson to experiment with guys like Mychel Thompson and James White as his starting twos in preseason play. Neither of those two has looked the part of a starter (granted, it's only been two preseason games), leaving the Knicks to pray that Ronnie Brewer's recovery from meniscus surgery wraps up sooner rather than later.
Well, there's good news. After missing all of camp and the preseason games to date, Brewer returned to practice today. He skipped scrimmages after doing the morning walkthrough and drills, but hopes to participate in full tomorrow and even travel with the team this weekend in hopes of playing some actual minutes in Montreal, Albany, or Syracuse.
Knicks fans meet this news with a mix of thankfulness that Brewer's healthy and prayer that he's not returning too promptly. If able, Brewer gives the starting lineup what it needs in the way of perimeter defense and off-ball activity while leaving plenty of room for Smith to stride off the bench and shoot a lot. Without Brewer, the rotation would be Smith followed by point guards playing out of position and fringe guys playing over their heads. Smith, incidentally, has his sore left ankle in a walking boot. So yeah, it's a huge relief that Brewer is returning on schedule and imperative that he stay returned.