Marcus Camby came into the season as one of the Knicks’ biggest free agent signings, expected to play an important role as a backup center off the bench. Now, compounded with his lack of playing time, Camby will miss more time as an MRI revealed the big man has plantar fasciitis.
Camby’s disappearance from the rotation upon returning from a training camp injury was odd. Many speculated that Camby had either done
something to anger Mike Woodson or an injury was being covered up. According to Steve Popper, the latter was true as of this morning right until the news actually broke.
While Camby’s medical issue with his hooves (one that causes pain and inflammation at the bottom of the foot) is troubling, it also is not the back-breaking type of issue that probably would have been imagined at the start of the season. As mentioned, Camby was hardly getting playing time to begin with – and when he was, he was only effective half of the time – and the Knicks have a fair amount of other options. Tyson Chandler’s play of late warrants extra time on the court; if Rasheed Wallace doesn’t bark at referees anymore, he’s been fairly productive; Chris Copeland was a boost of energy this past Sunday; Kurt Thomas is still alive, as Seth Rosenthal points out. Amar’e Stoudemire’s return is not too far off either.
Going forward, however, it would be nice to get Camby back and healthy, as he could play a vital role for the team. The Knicks gave him a three-year contract and gave up a number of pieces in the sign-and-trade to acquire him (two backup big men, a backup point guard, and draft picks). Furthermore, the above-listed big men options, excluding Copeland, are all fairly aged themselves (basketball players are not like fine wine or liquors) and might not be dependable as the season wears on. If Camby can recover, he’d be a nice healthy option to have off the bench.
Should the Knicks not find a role for him as the season goes forward, however, it is possible that Camby could be used as trade bait for another team. It’s early, and the thought of a trade is about as unappealing as ever, but there is always a market for backup centers.
In the meantime, it’d just be nice to see Marcus rest up and recover quickly, hopefully with a future role in the rotation waiting for him.