Baron Davis is likely to participate in his first practice today and the Knicks are shooting for the injured point guard to make his debut Saturday in Houston for the finale to their four-game road trip, according to sources.
The Knicks prefer to start Davis on the road because there would be less pressure for him to perform. But if he has the slightest setback during practices, then his debut would be pushed back to the first game back, against the Pistons at the Garden next Tuesday.
If there were no setbacks in his running drills yesterday, Davis, suffering from a herniated disc, is expected to be cleared this morning but his first practice could be limited.
Davis has, as expected, beat the timetable his agent, Todd Ramasar, set in mid-December of “at least eight to 10 weeks.’’
Davis has been reluctant to publicly set a date because it hinges on his day-to-day progress and he doesn’t want to be disappointed.
“Every team goes through adversity,” Davis said. “This is our adversity. There was all the hype about us winning the championship. Judge us at the end of the season. Our goal is to be ready by April.’’
CHARLOTTE – In the fast-developing, good-news comeback story of Baron Davis, coach Mike D’Antoni would not rule out the injured point guard from making his Knicks debut Wednesday night in Cleveland.
Davis, rehabbing from herniated disks in his back, recovered well from his first practice Monday and was to play a 3-on-3 scrimmage during Tuesday’s shootaround at the Charlotte arena. If that goes well and he feels good Wednesday, D’Antoni feels there’s still a remote chance he will let Davis suit him up vs. the Cavaliers.
The 6-10 Knicks, reeling on a six-game losing streak have long eyed this four-game road trip for Davis’ return, but sources said over the weekend Saturday in Houston would likely be his debut, with an outside shot of Friday in Miami. If they do play him in Cleveland, it would be a chance to ease him in before the pressurized atmosphere of the first showdown against the Miami Dream Team.
“It could be tomorrow, that doesn’t mean it is,’’ D’Antoni said Tuesday morning at Time Warner Arena as the club prepared for the Bobcats. “I said that so I don’t lie to you. I have no idea. I wouldn’t rule anything out.’’
Davis had “no ill effects’’ from his practice debut Monday. Davis said he was ”very rusty’’ and it was up to D’Antoni to figure out when to play him so he won’t hurt the team.
“I don’t think he’ll hurt the team (now),’’ D’Antoni said. “But it’s up to the training staff. If they give me a recommendation, if everything feels he should go, he’s going to play. Whether it’s five minutes or 20 minutes.’’