Perhaps the biggest story of the New York Knicks preseason hasn’t been the new faces or the Knicks age, but the rash of injuries the team suffered during camp.
They already knew they would be without guard Iman Shumpert until at least January, but the likes of Ronnie Brewer, Amar’e Stoudemire, Marcus Camby, J.R. Smith, Tyson Chandler and Rasheed Wallace have all been out of the preseason lineup for one reason or another.
However the news could be getting better as the Knicks could be getting a couple of their big men back on the floor as they prepare for the season opener Thursday against the Brooklyn Nets.
Both Chandler and Camby have given the indications that they expect to play on Thursday.
Camby recently joined the team for practice after missing the past three weeks with a left calf strain. It wasn’t a contact practice as Mike Woodson focused on shooting and a walk-through of offensive and defensive sets. The coach said Camby could scrimmage as early as Tuesday, and the backup center is hopeful about playing Thursday in the Knicks’ season opener against the Nets.
However Hurricane Sandy has already cancelled practice on Monday, so we will see if Camby will have ample time to work with his teammates before Thursday. Despite the setbacks, Camby sounds optimistic about being in uniform for the opener.
“I want to play if possible,” Camby told ESPN’s Jared Zwerling. “I know I’m not going to get extended minutes because I haven’t really been out there, but I’m shooting to get out there on Thursday.”
Chandler, who suffered a left knee bone bruise against the Nets last Wednesday, is also optimistic he’ll be back by then.
There was no swelling and he spent Saturday doing some pool exercises, which help strengthen the knee. He’s glad to be almost 100 percent healthy again.
“I’m very relieved because, like I said, it wasn’t something that I’d ever dealt with,” he said. “So, you know, obviously it was a little stress on my mind, but now I’m at ease and just trying to get back on the court.”
That makes Brewer, Chandler and Camby almost ready to go at full strength and you can almost count Wallace among the healthy.
Wallace showed off his defensive and shooting strengths during practice at the Garden. Guarding the ball, he was the loudest one, letting his teammates in front of him know what to watch out for.
He said he is ready to play 30 minutes Thursday if he has to.
“Really to me, honestly, it doesn’t matter,” ‘Sheed said. “No matter if I’m two minutes, no matter if I’m 30 minutes, whatever. I just gotta do what I can do out there for the team.”
That leaves really on Stoudemire and Shumpert as injured Knicks.
Despite the mystery surrounding Smith’s Achilles injury, the veteran swingman is also expected to be ready to go when the season tips off on Thursday.
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