Special to ZAGSBLOG
GREENBURGH, N.Y. – With their season-opener just a couple of days away, the Knicks were dealt another blow on Tuesday when the team announced that Amar’e Stoudemire will undergo “left knee debridement” and will miss 6-8 weeks. That would put him out of action until mid-to-late December.
Knicks head coach Mike Woodson was clearly disappointed at the news, which further depletes a team that has dealt with injuries for much of the preseason.
“Amar’e is a big piece to our puzzle,” Woodson said.”I don’t care how you slice it. I’m not one to sit here and complain about injuries. They happen to every team in this league. The guys in uniform have to step up and play.”
Carmelo Anthony echoed the frustration.
“It was a shocker,” said Anthony. “At first it was 2-3 [weeks]. We thought we would have him back the first couple of weeks or first month of the season.
“It’s disappointing. We definitely thought this was going to be the season that we had the chance to go out there and play together for a full season with no injuries”
Center Tyson Chandler will now likely have to take on a larger responsibility offensively in the frontcourt despite a knee bruise. He gave Stoudemire an optimistic message after finding out about the injury.
“I feel more for him personally but like I told him, it’s a little set back in a big picture,” Chandler said.
Chandler practiced but did not scrimmage Tuesday and it remains unclear if he will play in the season opener, which is slated for Thursday against the Nets in Brooklyn. The NBA announced Tuesday that the game would take place as scheduled despite the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy.
“Tyson looked good,” Woodson said. “He didn’t scrimmage, but I think he’s going to be fine.”
Said Chandler: “I feel fine, but it’s another thing when you have a 300-pounder or 280-pounder leaning on me”
Stoudemire was initially diagnosed with a ruptured popliteal cyst in his left knee and the prognosis would be that the 29-year-old forward would have to sit 2-3 weeks. ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported Monday night Stoudemire would be out six weeks.
Woodson hasn’t yet figured out who he’ll move into the power forward slot, although he did indicate that it would be based on match ups.
Against bigger teams like the Nets, Kurt Thomas could play the four, while against smaller lineups like Miami, Anthony could play power forward.
“A lot of times I’m going to base [who we play at power forward] on personnel,” Woodson said. “We can also slide Melo to the four-spot.”
The second year coach also stated that Rasheed Wallace has progressed well, and that he will see playing time on Thursday.
“He’ll play Thursday for sure,” Woodson said. “How many minutes? I don’t know that. I’ve got to get the game flowing and see what type of flow we have.”
Wallace only began scrimmaging with the team last Friday after having not played in an NBA game in two years.
He has been pressed into service in part due to injuries to Stoudemire and Marcus Camby (calf).
As for whether the game would actually take place Thursday in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which has knocked out power in much of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn for several days, Woodson said it’s on:
“As far as I’ve been told, we’re still on. We’re preparing to play Thursday”