Felton on return: 'Big chance' for Saturday
January, 22, 2013
By Jared Zwerling | ESPNNewYork.com
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Knicks point guard Raymond Felton took another significant step Tuesday in his return from a broken right pinkie suffered on Christmas Day.
With just a wrap on his finger, Felton hoisted jump shots around the arc before participating in conditioning drills.
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsRaymond Felton averaged 15.8 points and 6.3 assists in 28 games, while shooting just 40 percent from the field.
"I feel good," he said afterward. "I can practice without putting a brace on my hand. ... Basically I can use my right hand again."
Though he hasn't been cleared for contact yet, Felton hopes to resume play Saturday in Philadelphia.
"Big chance, big chance, but I can't speak on that. That's not my decision to make," he said. "If it's up to me, I'd play in Boston, but they're not going to let me do it because there's a possible chance if I break it again, I'll be out two months, because they're going to have to go in and have surgery on it. So it's tough.
"Everybody looks at it as a little pinkie, all that, he shouldn't be out, but I fractured that pinkie in three places."
Felton will be needed to relieve playmaking pressure off his teammates. J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony have been asked to run more pick-and-rolls. Melo, especially, was effective Monday in the loss to the Nets. Out of the nine pick-and-roll plays he facilitated, the Knicks scored nine points, shooting 50 percent.
But Anthony's teammates noticed the extra ballhandling wore him down. He only had two points in the fourth quarter -- off free throws -- and missed a key jumper with 11 seconds remaining that would have given the Knicks an 86-85 lead. In addition, Jason Kidd has been affected by extended minutes in Felton's absence.
"We missed (Felton) a lot," coach Mike Woodson said. "He's a big part of the puzzle. We didn't bring Kidd in to play 30-plus minutes a game. I know Jason's giving us all he can give us, and I'm wearing him down. I've got to get Raymond back eventually, but then, too, I've got to be open-minded about Raymond's finger."
Said Amar'e Stoudemire: "Raymond's going to help us a lot. He helps with the offense and really facilitating the plays. We get into our offensive schemes a lot sooner. He also brings a lot of up-tempo style to the game, where we can have some more fast-break points out there on the court."
Felton said the past month has been a "painful" and "terrifying" time.
"This is the longest I've ever been out for an injury ever in my career," he said, "so it's been tough mentally for me, but I've been fighting through and making sure I'm staying in shape."