Jonathan Bender owes comeback to high-jumper

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports:

When recently signed Jonathan Bender finally makes his season debut for the Knicks, he’ll owe a lot to a former Olympic gold-medalist.

The 7-foot Bender, in his unorthodox comeback attempt, has used 1996 Olympic gold medalist Carl Austin as his coach. Austin also had wrecked his knee and returned to win the gold in Atlanta in the high jump.

Bender, 28, signed with the Knicks on Sunday but did not dress last night here. Mike D’Antoni backpedaled and said he probably won’t suit up until after Friday’s game vs. the Clippers.

Bender worked out with Austin for the last year in San Marco, Texas. Austin will come to New York to continue working with Bender, who played his last NBA game in November of 2005 before a chronic injury left him with no cartilage in his knee.

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