The cold war over playing time continues between New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire and head coach Mike Woodson. STAT completely disagrees with the notion that the team’s medical staff is imposing a limit on his minutes; Stoudemire argues that Woodson simply doesn’t want to play him. Per the NY Post:
“From a doctor’s standpoint, there hasn’t been limitations since the first week of the season. So we can’t keep saying limitations, that’s a coach’s decision at the end of the day,’’ said Stoudemire. “I feel great. I am ready to play. But it’s up to him if he wants to play me or not.’’
Heading into Wednesday night’s game at the Garden against the Trail Blazers, Stoudemire is averaging just 18.9 minutes per game — the lowest of his career barring his injury-shortened, three-game season in 2005-06. But the proud six-time All-Star said he’s not limited medically, that his minutes are being limited by his coach, not the Knicks training staff. He obviously wants more playing time, and has repeatedly gotten in Woodson’s ear lobbying. So far, it has fallen on deaf ears.
“Yeah, I talk to coach all the time about it,’’ Stoudemire said. “He knows I’m ready. He knows how hard I train. He watches me in the weight room and also on the basketball court. The whole training staff knows, the Knicks organization knows how hard I train. I’m ready to play; but it depends on how the game’s played.’’
Stoudemire is averaging 9.3 points on 53.9 percent shooting with 4.2 rebounds. The Knicks talked often of limiting his minutes earlier in the season to keep him fresh for the playoffs; but they’re just 19-29, on the outside of the playoff picture, and Stoudemire is confident he can help in their postseason push.
“I feel great, man. It don’t take much for me. I have been playing at a high level my entire career. I know what it takes to get back to the top of the game. I know what it takes to feel confident. That’s never going to go away,’’ Stoudemire said. “It’s just a matter of how the coach is going to play me. I am available if they need me. If not, then we go with that.’’
It wasn’t the first time there has been seeming discord between Stoudemire and Woodson over the former’s status. Earlier this season, Woodson had expressed uncertainty about how much time Stoudemire would miss due, and the forward immediately took to Twitter to declare that he wasn’t injured.