By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin will miss at least the next six weeks due to a torn meniscus in his knee, the NBA team said on Saturday, signaling a likely end to the season for the Asian-American.
The downcast 23-year-old told a news conference before the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden that the injury to his left knee would require surgery early next week.
"We did everything we could," Lin told reporters. "This morning I got on the court to see how it feels. The decision was made this morning.
"I can't really do much. I can't really cut or jump. It's clear I won't be able to help the team unless I get this fixed right now."
In 35 games this season, Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.1 assists, sparking a global craze dubbed "Linsanity" when he burst onto the scene last month as an unheralded bench warmer.
After being given his chance, Lin led the team on a seven-game winning streak to help turn around a moribund season.
He will now miss the team's last 14 games, however, with the timetable for recovery stretching two weeks past the start of NBA playoffs.
The Harvard graduate had already missed the last three games after feeling the brunt of the injury last Saturday in a game against the Detroit Pistons.
"It's disappointing for me," said Lin. "It's hard for me to watch the games and want to be out there. Hopefully I can come back as soon as possible and contribute this season."
The Knicks went into Saturday's game with a 26-26 record, holding the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
"It sucks," said Lin, who posted seven double-doubles in his remarkable surge after being cut by two other NBA teams and a stint in a development league this season.
Lin, however, said he expected to return better than ever.
"When I come back, I'll be stronger than I ever was. I will be a better player. This is just a bump in the road. I will do everything I can to come back," he said.
"This is not a career ending thing," added Lin, who could become a free agent after this season. "Once it's fixed, it's fixed. It's the simplest surgery you can have. I'm just worried about this season.
"We really put our heart and soul into the season and not to be there in the end, when it matters most, is hard."
(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)