Lin to miss third consecutive game

Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin will not play Friday night against the Hawks in Atlanta because of a sore left knee, the team confirmed.

Lin has missed two games due to the injury, which he suffered in the second half of last Saturday's win over the Detroit Pistons. It's unclear at this point when Lin will return, but a Knicks spokesman said the team hopes to have Lin back during its two-game road trip, beginning next Tuesday against Indiana.

Baron Davis is expected to start at point guard in place of Lin.

Davis replaced Lin in the starting lineup in two Knicks wins earlier this week. He had an uneven performance in New York's win over Milwaukee, scoring 13 points on 3-of-12 shooting with seven assists and nine turnovers.

Davis was solid Wednesday, with 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists in a win over Orlando.

Lin, 23, said last week that he had been experiencing pain in his knee after the Knicks played four games in five nights, adding that the injury was the result of overuse.

In an interview on ESPN New York 1050's "Ruocco and Lundberg Show" on Friday afternoon, Knicks forward Jared Jeffries said Lin has been rehabbing in the pool. Jeffries added that Lin shot for the first time on Friday. He is hopeful that Lin will return next week.

"I think he's getting better, he's improving," Jeffries said.

Jeffries has missed five games with a sore right knee. He said he hopes to begin running next week and will have a better gauge on his return date once he starts running.

"I feel good right now, but I haven't done anything," said Jeffries, a reserve forward who is a valuable defender for New York.

Jeffries said both his and Lin's injuries are due to "wear and tear" and have been compounded by the lockout-shortened 66-game schedule.

"You get a small injury and it seems to keep going and keep compounding itself," Jeffries said.

Lin has logged extensive minutes since taking over as the Knicks' starting point guard. After playing just 24 total minutes in his first month with the team, Lin logged 35.1 minutes per game in February and 30.8 minutes per game in March.

Lin is averaging 14.6 points and 6.1 assists this season, his second in the league. He has made 25 starts for the Knicks (26-25).

In 20 minutes per game, Jeffries is averaging 4.2 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game.

Lin's and Jeffries' absence comes at a pivotal time for New York, which enters play on Friday 2½ games ahead of Milwaukee for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks are also 2½ games behind Boston and Philadelphia for first place in the Atlantic Division.