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Iman Shumpert reportedly “on target” for January return

New York Knicks v New Jersey Nets

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 17: Iman Shumpert #21 of the New York Knicks shoots against the New Jersey Nets during the preseason game on December 17, 2011 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2011 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Nathaniel S. Butler

The Knicks need Iman Shumpert back — they need perimeter defense and he is the one guy on the roster who can deliver it every night..

But he tore his ACL in the Knicks first playoff game (like Derrick Rose in Chicago) and his return is a little bit in flux.

Newsday caught up with Shumpert — who previously said he was hoping for a January return to the lineup.

“I have a steady rehab and we mix it up,” said Shumpert…. “There’s a little bit more I can do every day, but it’s definitely not the same thing being on the court sweating. I can’t wait until I get back....

“It’s getting better . . . Everything’s been good so far,” Shumpert said. “I haven’t had any bad days. I’m happy about that. I’ll be going to a MRI soon and see if we can pick up the intensity of my rehab.”

Eight months is the earliest someone can come back from an ACL injury (which would have Shumpert taking the court around Christmas and New Years. But like Rose Shumpert should not rush back — he has a long career ahead of him and consistent knee issues can shorten them. Take your time, do the rehab, make sure everything is 100 percent. No need to risk re-injury for a January date against the Magic. Get it right before you step on the court.