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Lin unconcerned with recent injuries as Hawks begin 3-game trip

Atlanta Hawks guard Jeremy Lin (7) scores against Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein (00) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Atlanta Hawks guard Jeremy Lin (7) scores against Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein (00) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Credit: Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Credit: Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

It’s no secret Jeremy Lin has struggled with injury over his nine-year NBA career.

After being limited to 37 games the past two seasons with the Nets due to hamstring and patella injuries, it may not be a surprise to some that Lin has been on the Hawks injury report the past two weeks. The guard has missed three games and counting due to two separate injuries.

Although his injury-riddled past is not something of which he needs to be reminded, Lin said there is no comparison between the severity of his recent ankle and back issues compared to the season-ending injuries he suffered with the Nets.

“These are small injuries and it’s hard to compare a 6-to-8 week hamstring injury or a year-long patella tendon to just missing one or two games, so for me, these are just more like little bites of the season that everyone’s going to have at some point, but I’m not too concerned,” Lin said Tuesday. “In general, I know I put a lot into my body and I’m just trusting that by God’s grace I’ll stay healthy and if it doesn’t happen, it’s not meant to be, but there’s nothing I can do to worry my way into health.”

An ankle injury kept Lin sidelined for two games. It’s no longer a concern as he was cleared to play against the Warriors on Dec. 3 and shot 5 of 9 from the field for 14 points with five rebounds and five assists after resting two games. Lin also played against the Wizards on Dec. 5 before he suffered a back strain in his first four minutes. The back strain kept him out against the Nuggets on Saturday and against the Mavericks on Wednesday to start a three-game road trip.

Acquired in a trade with the Nets in July, Lin's health was a concern at the beginning of the season, but with constant attention from the training staff, he's worked his way up in minutes and became one of the Hawks most reliable players in November. He earned an average of 21 minutes off the bench over the past month.

In November, Lin shot .560 from the field and .479 from 3-point range. He averaged 13.9 points and led the Hawks in scoring seven times over the stretch of 12 games.

The 30-year-old Lin said he was able to score so well and play more minutes recently not just because of his aggressive mental approach, but because of coach Lloyd Pierce’s philosophy of leaving players with the hot hand in games.

“I think (Pierce) did a good job when he gave me more leeway,” Lin said of his team-leading scoring surges from November. “He gave me more play-calling and he let me kind of roll and play longer minutes and stretches and I was able to get comfortable and kind of gain my legs under me and my rhythm and all that. So it kind of just all came together and now a couple more small injuries and just try to get it back.”

Lin will travel on the upcoming road trip. After Tuesday’s practice, Lin said his back felt “pretty good” and he was confident he would return sometime over the next three games. Pierce, however, was a bit more cautious with how the team will use Lin over the stretch.

“It’s good to have Jeremy at least on the trip,” Pierce said. “I don’t know where he’ll be in terms of games but he’s going to come with us.”

The Hawks (6-20) are coming off their first win since Nov. 27 and regardless of how many minutes he plays over the next three games, Lin wants to see the Hawks build off the win and develop some consistency in their play.

“Right now (consistency) sometimes teeters,” Lin said. “We play really well and then we kind of don’t bring it one night and then we play really well again so hopefully (we’ll gain) consistency. This is a tough road trip. We’re going to play some really quality opponents so no better way to figure out what you’re made of then to go on the road and play some good teams.”

The Hawks play at the Mavericks Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. The trip continues at the Celtics on Friday and at the Nets on Sunday.