Amar’e Stoudemire Willing to Come Off the Bench for the Knicks
New York Knicks star forward Amar’e Stoudemire continues to slowly and cautiously make his way back.
STAT says that the report claiming he’d play on Christmas Day isn’t accurate — he felt soreness in his surgically-repaired left knee after scrimmaging with the Knicks’ D-League team, the Erie BayHawks, on Monday.
Most important of all, though, was Stoudemire’s revelation that he wouldn’t oppose a move to the bench if the team asked. Amar’e's willingness not to upset the wonderful chemistry in Gotham has been hinted at through the media, and he confirmed it when chatting with reporters.
Amar’e Stoudemire said he wants to help the East-leading Knicks, not disrupt them. After scrimmaging for the first time in about two months, the six-time All-Star and $100-million man said he would be willing to come off the bench if that’s what Mike Woodson wants. “Whatever it takes to win,” Stoudemire said. “You guys know me. Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve been all about winning and been a total team player. So whatever it takes to win, that’s the goal.” Woodson wouldn’t address Stoudemire’s role because he’s still not ready to play.
Unless his knee bothers him, Stoudemire could practice again Thursday. Woodson didn’t rule him out of making his season debut Friday or Sunday. But Stoudemire, who had to be assigned to the D-League to scrimmage with Erie, isn’t ready to commit to anything. “I’m not where I want to be at this point,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I can get there soon. I don’t have a date in my mind when I’m going to return. I just want to keep improving.” [...] If he can go through some more practices this week, it’s possible that Stoudemire could get into Sunday’s game against Minnesota. But Stoudemire and the Knicks will keep taking it slowly.
This is obviously great news for the New York Knicks, who have compiled an Eastern Conference best 18-6 record largely without their star power forward.
It will certainly be interesting to observe what coach Mike Woodson elects to do with his lineups once Amar’e Stoudemire is healthy again.