LAS VEGAS -- On Tuesday, Knicks GM Glen Grunwald revealed J.R. Smith's knee issues started as far back as training camp last fall. He also said Smith battled through them the entire season, even as the pain got worse.
Smith missed just two regular-season games while becoming the Sixth Man Award winner last season.
On Monday, Smith had patellar tendon surgery and an arthroscopy for a tear in the lateral meniscus of his left knee. His recovery time is approximately 12 to 16 weeks.
"To his credit he battled through it the whole year and was a real warrior for us," Grunwald said. "At the end of the season, we knew it was probably likely that he would have surgery, but we wanted to see how it would react with a little bit of rest. We went through that period of time, not unlike what we did with [Carmelo Anthony] and his shoulder. And it turns out that the best thing for [Smith] and for us is to get the surgery done now.
New York Knicks
"He's committed to doing all the rehab and getting himself back as soon as possible. J.R. has always been good in that regard in terms of his ability to work. I'm very hopeful that he'll be back by the time the regular season rolls around."
Grunwald clarified that it was Smith's decision for initially choosing rest over surgery, and then finally going under the knife. During the process, he consulted with the Knicks' medical staff.
"The decision is J.R.'s and he wanted to give it a chance to heal, which is perfectly understandable," Grunwald said. "We went through a period of rehab and it didn't get better."
Reflecting on the season, Grunwald admired Smith for his perseverance to play through pain.
"He struggled towards the end there, but to his credit, he battled through it and I think a lot of players might not have played with the pain that he had with it," he said.
Looking ahead, Grunwald expects Smith to have a full recovery, with no long-term implications.
"We're pretty comfortable that it's something that's fixable and won't present problems in the foreseeable future," he said. "J.R. is a good worker and the report from the surgeon was good. We're optimistic he'll be ready to go when the regular season rolls around."
Last week, Smith re-signed with the Knicks for four years, $24.7 million. Because the Knicks had his Early Bird rights, they were allowed to pay him the roughly $5.3 million for 2013-14, despite the fact that they were over the salary cap. That $5.3 million couldn't be spent on any other free agent. Therefore, it was a no-brainer the Knicks made him a priority signing, even with his injuries in mind.
THE "MISSING PIECE": That's what Grunwald called newest Knick Metta World Peace.
"We have really no true 3 man other than probably Melo, and he gives us the versatility and the flexibility to play different ways -- whether it's big or small," the GM said. "Defensively, he'll add a lot to our team. His contributions in the locker room as a leader will be very important to our team. His ability to shoot the 3, particularly the corner 3, will be very important to us, and his ability to guard all sorts of different people in all sorts of different positions is absolutely critical.
"Plus, him being a New York legend and the opportunity for him to come back to New York and help his hometown team, I just thought it was really a perfect fit for us."
Grunwald said coach Mike Woodson will decide in training camp on whether World Peace starts or not.
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