Alan Hahn's post on New York Knicks | Latest updates on Sulia
Jason Kidd has earned the right to call his own shots. And Mike Woodson lets him. An update on Kidd's status:
Jason Kidd, who missed his first game of the season on Wednesday with back spasms, will return to the starting lineup Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks. And he will be there in the back-to-back/three-games-in-four-nights stretch ahead this weekend.
"I'm always open-minded to what Kidd wants to do," Woodson said. "I think he, as a pro, put himself in that position, to be able to decide in terms of the way he plays and if he's not feeling well, I've got to let him rest."
The 39-year-old Kidd dismissed any notion that he needs to slow down at this point in the season, especially after having to carry the point guard position while Raymond Felton was out with an injury.
"We're coming up on the all-star break, I'll get a couple of days of rest," Kidd said.
He then pointed to the importance of the stretch run that comes on the other side of All-Star weekend.
"For the elite teams, after the all-star break you're trying to make that push to get your [playoff] seeding and go from there," he said.
Though it seemed Kidd carried a heavy load during Felton's 12-game absence, the numbers tell a different story. He averaged 29.4 minutes per game, which is actually slightly lower than the 29.6 minutes he averaged while playing alongside Felton in the first 24 games of the season.
But Woodson said he "beat him up" too much with big minutes on many nights and he had to back off some. With Felton back and Iman Shumpert also in the lineup, there are enough guards to allow Kidd's minutes to go down to a more manageable number for a 39-year-old veteran.
Still, Kidd refuses to acknowledge a need to retreat. He said the problem with his back isn't an issue.
"There's no restrictions," he said. "Just a matter of me taking care of myself and [the team] being full-strength helps because I won't have to play 35 minutes a night."
At least not until the playoffs begin, because it will be difficult to keep him on the bench when the games have that kind of meaning.