Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire will be sidelined 2-3 weeks due to a ruptured cyst on the back of his left knee, thus opening the door for Carmelo Anthony to play some power forward going forward.
Stoudemire scored 18 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in Friday’s game against the Toronto Raptors in Montreal, but then complained of knee pain the following day.
“He was having discomfort [Saturday] night in Albany, so we sent him home,” coach Mike Woodson said Sunday in Syracuse, according to the New York Post.
The news comes as the Knicks are about to face the Philadelphia 76ers Monday night at the Carrier Dome, and means Stoudemire will miss the season-opener Nov. 1 at Brooklyn.
“It’s sad right now, it seems he can’t catch a break,” Anthony said, per the Post. “It’s sad for him mentally getting all the knick knack injuries. We got his back. We’ll hold it down for him.”
Even the Nets expressed sympathy for Stoudemire, who has suffered through various injuries during his Knick career, ranging from back problems to his self-inflicted hand laceration after punching a glass-encased fire extinguisher during the playoffs in Miami last season.
“It’s tough,” Nets point guard Deron Williams said, according to Newsday. “I hope he gets better. I’ve known Amar’e since high school. He’s had some struggles with injuries.
“But it doesn’t change how we think about the Knicks. They still have a good team.”
Anthony said before the season that he didn’t want to play power forward, but with Stoudemire out Anthony could spend some time at the four.
Kurt Thomas is expected to start at power forward on Monday and perhaps in the Nov. 1 opener in Brooklyn. As the Post pointed out, Melo could then play the four against the smaller Heat in the Garden opener Nov. 2 against LeBron and company.
“We can mix and match based on personnel going into games,’’ Woodson said, according to the Post. “If they have a big lineup, you might want Kurt in the game and play Melo in his natural position. If they got a small lineup like Miami plays with [Chris] Bosh at the center and LeBron at the four, you can play Melo at the four. That’s the beauty of having the guys we have.’