NEW YORK – Amare Stoudemire needs surgery on his right knee and is expected to miss six weeks, a stunning blow to the New York Knicks as they chase the Atlantic Division title.
Stoudemire, who had been playing well off the bench, will have the procedure to remove tissue within the week, the Knicks said Saturday before their game against the Utah Jazz.
Stoudemire missed the first 30 games after having the same surgery, called a debridement, on his left knee during the preseason. He returned on New Year’s Day and has averaged 14.2 points in 29 games as a reserve.
“I feel for the young man because he put so much time and hard work in, but we’ve got to go on,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.
The Knicks were also without Carmelo Anthony, sitting out his third straight game with a sore and stiff right knee.
But the Stoudemire news was a surprise, since there was no indication there had been any problem with his surgically repaired knees until Saturday morning.
Stoudemire didn’t take part in the Knicks’ morning shootaround, and had an MRI later in the day.
Leading the Brooklyn Nets by 2 1/2 games entering play Saturday, the Knicks have to hope Stoudemire can return for the playoffs.
“It’s a loss, a major loss, to what we’re trying to do, but you know we’re going to have to wait on him and continue our climb,” Woodson said. “We can’t sit and sulk and feel sad and upset about it. It’s what it is and guys have got to step up and play.”
Stoudemire has a history of knee injuries that made the $100 million contract he signed in 2010 uninsurable. The Knicks were being especially careful since his latest surgery, keeping him on a minutes restriction that started in the low 20s and had recently grown to 30 minutes a night.