After all, that’s the way his nightmarish, injury-riddled season has gone since it began, with Lin playing in just 25 of the Nets’ 69 games after signing a three-year, $36 million deal in the summer.
“It’s the story of my season,” said Lin, who is averaging 13.7 points and 4.9 assists when he does play. “Every time we’re about to hit our stride, get into a rhythm or we start to figure things out, something’s happened.”
But this time, the wait likely won’t be as long. One day after the injury, both Lin and Nets coach Kenny Atkinson called his latest ailment a “day-to-day’ situation” and believed he’d be back in the starting lineup shortly. In fact, Lin initially thought he would be able to reenter Sunday’s game after loosening up his ankle on a stationary bike.
When it failed to improve, Lin sat for the remainder of the game, but remains encouraged his injury is nothing more serious.
“I’m thankful it was just an ankle and not a hamstring or something like that,” Lin said after receiving treatment. “This is more of my comfort zone. Every basketball player has gone through ankle injuries.”
It signals good news for a Nets team that seemingly had hit its stride since its biggest offseason signing returned to the lineup.
The Nets have won five of their last 12 games, Caris LeVert has taken steps to becoming a major piece of the team’s future, and the chemistry between Lin and Brook Lopez seems evident by the duo’s recent play.
In particular, Lopez had been on a tear over the last five games, averaging 24.8 points.
“I do think we started seeing enough of a glimmer and got enough of a sample size that we know Jeremy and Brook could play together,” Atkinson said. “Our starting lineup was starting to look good and our bench was developing its role. … It’s the reality of the NBA.”
The final 13 games were supposed to tell the organization just how good the Nets could be in the future. With eight games against teams either currently locked into a playoff spot or in contention for one, it marked a chance to truly see what the new lineup could do with Lin leading the way.
Instead, it’s now about the race to get Lin through his latest rehab journey in order to get him back on the court this season.
“I’m ready to get going, get through this rehab process,” Lin said. “I’m excited that it’s not the same rehab process that I’ve been through before. Not the same length or duration…. I’m excited [to get back into games].”
A familiar saying in an unfamiliarly challenging season.