New York Knicks star forward Amar'e Stoudemire will return to the court on Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers following a four-week absence due to a back injury, coach Mike Woodson confirmed to reporters during shootaround. Woodson also confirmed that Stoudemire will go right back into the starting lineup, replacing struggling guard Landry Fields.
Stoudemire has been out of action since March 24 with a bulging disk in his back. The Knicks have fared well in his absence, going 8-4 in the 12 games he's missed.
In Stoudemire's absence, Woodson decided to move Carmelo Anthony to power forward and insert Iman Shumpert into the starting lineup, a move that paid dividends. However, Woodson has decided to go back to a traditional lineup while keeping Shumpert in and sitting Fields.
At 33-29, the Knicks are likely locked into the No. 7 seed, barring a collapse from sixth-seeded Orlando. They would likely play either the Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat in the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs.