With the 2013 NBA Playoffs well under way and the New York Knicks holding a commanding 2-0 series lead over the Boston Celtics, the Knicks rotation could possibly get a lot stronger in the near future.
Knicks’ forward Amar’e Stoudemire is about to start running full speed by the end of the week and if his surgically repaired knee responds well to that, STAT will continue his rehab and as long as there are no setbacks, Stoudemire is hoping to return by the second round of the playoffs.
“If everything goes great [with rehabilitation], then I’m willing to play,” Stoudemire told ESPN’s Ian Begley. “Sooner than later, hopefully, if everything continues to improve.”
“Everything’s on schedule for the most part. I’ve got to continue to get stronger, got to get back on the court, start moving around at full speed,” Stoudemire said. “And if I can handle that, then we go up a notch, that’s great. Then I’m looking [forward to] hopefully playing soon. We’ll see.”
Stoudemire underwent surgery March 11 to clean up debris in his right knee. He last played on a game March 7 and at the time of his surgery the Knicks said he would miss four to six weeks. That time table has long passed, but the news on STAT is encouraging.
Knicks head coach Mike Woodson held his stance on Stoudemire’s status with the team, saying that he would be a regular part of the Knicks rotation when he returns.
In his absence the Knicks have played their best basketball, finishing the regular season 17-6 and starting the postseason by winning their first two games.
But even though the Knicks have thrived without STAT in the lineup, he didn’t play bad when he was on the floor even though the wins weren’t there on a frequent basis. In 29 games, Stoudemire averaged 14.2 points and five rebounds in 23.5 minutes per game, making 57 percent of his field goals.
It will be good to see Stoudemire a part of the Knicks playoff charge if and when he returns, however Woodson will have to be careful not to mess with the chemistry of this team.
What the Knicks have done defensively in the postseason has been remarkable and that’s an area that STAT simply does not help in.
Even when he is healthy you would have to imagine that Kenyon Martin would still be the first big man off the bench. It’s unclear how the rotation will work out, but Martin’s minutes can’t be effected by a Stoudemire return. He makes too much of an impact defensively.
That means the likes of Chris Copeland and possibly Steve Novak could pretty much fall out of the rotation all together.
Of course that’s just speculation at this point. Stoudemire has to make it back healthy first.
Like him or hate him STAT has earned the right to be a part of this.
Hopefully he can fit in to what the Knicks are doing and not disrupt things.
I guess we will find out the answer to that sooner rather than later.
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