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J.R. Smith feels he let team down with drug suspension

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks - Game Five

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: J.R. Smith #8 of the New York Knicks argues a call during Game five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden on May 1, 2013 in New York City. 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. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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J.R. Smith — who signed a three-year contract with the Knicks then promptly went out and got knee surgery on his patella tendon, surgery he knew he needed but waited until it was on company time — could miss the start of the season as he rehabs from injury.

But when he is ready he still has to sit out five games due to a drug suspension from the league. The only way you get that five game suspension is three separate positive tests for marijuana.

At media day Monday Smith spoke publicly for the first time since the suspension came down and was very apologetic, as reported by the New York Post.

“The worst thing is I feel I let my teammates and coach down,’’ Smith said Monday at Knicks Media Day. “I let Mr. Dolan down. I’m looking to move forward from it. As soon as I’m able to play, I’m hoping to have a good season.’’

By the way, the Knicks don’t get to say, “he’s ready” then have him finish his recovery during those first five games; a league doctor has to clear him to play before the suspension kicks in.

When he does return the Knicks need the reigning Sixth Man of the Year to have another big season — he was a key to their offense last season (behind Carmelo Anthony) and New York needs that again.

Which means he does need to be over the knee injury he played through last playoffs. Completely.