STAT From The Bench?: Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire trained relentlessly this summer – maybe too much. Stoudemire came into Knicks camp arguably in the best shape of his life and really wanted to prove his doubters wrong. Then the unthinkable happened. A cyst in his left knee ruptured and required a surgical procedure called a debridement, which is a scraping or removal of dead or infected tissue.
To call the injury a setback is an understatement; it was a death blow to a player that tried so hard to answer his critics.
One Knick player who is close to Stoudemire admitted that after the surgery, Stoudemire was in “dark place” emotionally, but as his rehab has progressed, his spirits have normalized and his passion for his Knicks teammates is a daily constant.
The elephant in the room for the Knicks is what happens when Stoudemire is ready to come back? Carmelo Anthony is having what some are calling an MVP-type season, playing the bulk of his time at the power forward spot. Tyson Chandler is the league’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year and the backbone of the Knicks’ new-found defensive focus.
Could the Knicks ask Stoudemire, who is slated to earn $19.94 million this season, to come off the bench?
Could the Knicks explore trading Stoudemire once he proves himself healthy and simply try to offload his contract and the burden of trying to make it work with Anthony?
The Knicks don’t perceive this to be nearly the problem the fans and the media think it will be and as one Knicks player said on the subject: “Amar’e just wants to win”
Stoudemire is traveling with his Knicks teammates and is putting in aggressive rehab work. He could start serious court work in the coming weeks and is expected to be ready to go in the early part of December.
With the Knicks sitting at 5-0 on the season and heading into San Antonio tonight, it will be interesting to see how Knicks coach Mike Woodson handles Stoudemire. His teammates say he’d have no problem playing from the bench as the sixth man, especially if that’s what it takes to win games and ultimately a championship, but saying that is entirely different from actually doing it.