New York Knicks big man Amar'e Stoudemire has increased his workload as he continues to rehab from a July knee surgery, and he hopes to be ready by the regular-season opener against the Milwaukee Bucks on Oct. 30, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Stoudemire still hasn't been cleared to scrimmage and is not yet running on the court at full speed. But after his most recent workouts, he's optimistic that will happen soon, which could clear the way for a return by the opener:
"It's definitely a possibility,'' Stoudemire said of playing in the opener. "It's matter of how strong my legs are. I'm working my butt off to gain strength. Hopefully I'll be ready by the season opener.
"Everyone knows when I'm healthy, what kind of player I am and what I bring to the table.''
Not only does Stoudemire believe he could be ready for the regular-season opener, he also feels there's a chance he may be able to suit up for the Knicks' final two preseason games. Knicks coach Mike Woodson said he would have no problem with Stoudemire playing in the preseason if there are no further setbacks:
"He hasn't had any setbacks, which is nice,'' Woodson said. "I'm hoping he plays some [in preseason]. You have to gauge it and see. If he can play 10 minutes a game in the exhibition season, we'll play him. That's providing he doesn't have any setbacks and continues the pace he's on.''
Of course, Stoudemire's Knicks career has been marred by numerous setbacks as his ailing knees have betrayed him. The 30-year-old underwent two knee surgeries last season, which forced him to miss 53 regular-season games.
The Knicks plan to be extra cautious with Stoudemire whenever he does return to the court, with an expected minutes limit of about 20 per game. Stoudemire played 23.5 minutes per game last season, averaging 14.2 points and 5.0 rebounds.