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How soon will Lin return? Not soon enough!

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Lin is back practicing and hopes for a quick return to the court ... but he understands his long-term health is a larger issue than any single game.

Lin was asked Saturday if his competitive nature might drive him to push for a return against the Rockets (Monday) or the Lakers (Wednesday), two of his former teams.

“No, my health is most important,” Lin said at the morning shootaround before the Spurs game. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, I’m going to make sure I make a good decision.”

So will the Nets organization, starting with Kenny Atkinson.

“I’m going to completely follow the advice of the performance team and Jeremy and figure that out,” he said when pressed for a return date.

“He wants to play 40 minutes the first game, he’s already told me. But I don’t think that’s happening. We’ll just do the most intelligent thing and in terms of what the best thing is coming back from an injury like that.”

That suggests Lin will be on a minutes restriction no matter when he returns. He’s cool with that.

“I’d be expecting a minute restriction,” he said. “We just wanted to make sure everything is strengthened, not just back to where it was but above and beyond so that I don’t ever have to deal with it again.”

That doesn’t mean he isn’t anxious about the next time he steps on the court. Nor frustrated with how many games he’s missed.

“It’s definitely been hard … more than hard at times,’’ Lin said. “It was a up-and-down in terms of everything, because I wanted to come back. I wanted to be able to come back as early as I can, obviously. We’re taking a more healthy approach in terms of just making sure that this won’t bother me again.”

The Nets play four games this week. After Houston and Los Angeles, they play the Magic on Friday and the 76ers next Sunday. Only the Laker game is a home game. That means more traveling, less time for practice. And the Nets cancelled Sunday’s practice.

So, in the meantime, Atkinson will rely on Isaiah Whitehead, Randy Foye and Spencer Dinwiddie to fill the gap and hope this fan nightmare ends soon.