Amare Stoudemire injury: Knicks forward could return in 2nd round

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks eye a return for forward Amare Stoudemire in the second round of the playoffs.

Amare Stoudemire underwent right knee surgery on March 11 with his expected return date to be four to six weeks off. It's about that six week mark, but with little reason to rush, he's hoping to make a comeback in the second round, according to ESPN New York.

Before the season began, Stoudemire underwent the same knee debridement on his left knee, and his recovery time then took two months. Now, that appears to be the realistic goal with his other knee. Stoudemire told ESPN that he's not pushing it.

"If we continue to win, then that gives me more time to really heal up 100 percent," Stoudemire said. "So that's kind of the blessing that we have right now."

There appears to be little reason for urgency because the Knicks hold a 2-0 lead on the Boston Celtics in their opening playoff series, and they are doing just fine without the former All-Star. And that's just the issue.

The Knicks have been more fluid without Stoudemire. Even when he was coming off the bench to average 14.2 points per game on 58 percent shooting, New York is arguably a better team without him. Considering late-season signee Kenyon Martin has been eating up minutes as a center, and quite effective minutes at that, how coach Mike Woodson ultimately inserts Stoudemire without disrupting on-court chemistry will be key.

Nevertheless, the deeper New York goes in the playoffs, the more bodies they'll need, especially in the interior.

Chris Copeland could take a hit in playing time, as could Steve Novak if Woodson is forced to play with a more traditional lineup in the next series. If they finish off Boston, New York will play the winner of the series between the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks -- both have more than enough size to challenge the small-ball Knicks.

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