Originally posted on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 4/4/12

Larry Bird knows the devastating effect a nagging back injury can have on an NBA player's career and gave New York Knicks big man Amar'e Stoudemire some perspective on how to handle his own pain.

"My back problems cost me at least three or four years," the Boston Celtics great told the New York Daily News. "After I hurt it, I always played with spasms. To fix the instability and get the disc out of there, they had to fuse my back. But I kept playing because I wanted to get that last championship, or play for one more championship. That was just me."

It's been 20 years since the Hall of Fame player suited up for an NBA game— which was cut short by the back problems— and he sees the same woes with Stoudemire.



This is the second serious back injury in the last 11 months for the 30-year-old Stoudemire and he still has three guaranteed years on a five-year, $100 million contract.

The Knicks forward missed another game last night after the Indiana Pacers came back to score 40 points in the fourth quarter to give the Knicks a 112-104 loss— and a precarious 1 1/2 game lead for the final playoff spot. All Stoudemire could do was watch.

The Knicks haven't given any indication on if Stoudemire will return at all before the final 12 games of the regular season or the playoffs.

For now, he'll be spending more time in the training room than hitting the court— something Bird knows a lot about.

Bird— who hurt his back laying asphalt in his mother's driveway one offseason— did everything he could to keep playing.

The lasting image of his final NBA playing days was of the hulking Bird, lying on his stomach in front of the Celtics bench, trying to keep his back stretched out

"I'm sure he'll come back and be fine for a while," said Bird. "But how long will it last? You don't know.

"When you have instability in the back because of bulging discs or nerve problems, it's hard to feel your feet and run," Bird claimed. "I don't know what he's got. I ain't talking about his injuries. But backs are tricky. It still bothers me, but nothing like it did."

Stoudemire's decision is similar to what was Bird's— suffer and win now or play it safe for the future.

"Every back injury is different," Bird said. "I knew guys who had bulging discs, but they didn't hit the nerve. So they had stiffness, but it didn't hurt. There's things you can do for it. The technology has changed since I got hurt, and the doctors are different. You just hope you can deal with it."

Dealing with a losing season might be what seems important to Stoudemire right now.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Was firing Jeff Hornacek the wrong move for the Suns?

Panthers picked wrong day to play worst game of the season

Was Peyton Manning paid for Budweiser mentions?

Cam Newton walks out of postgame press conference

Eli did not look thrilled after Peyton locked up Super Bowl

Rick Reilly sends awkward tweet during Super Bowl 50

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Peyton Manning gives Papa John a kiss after game

Panthers' Josh Norman crying after losing Super Bowl

Peyton Manning ‘going to drink a lot of Budweiser’ after win

Where Peyton Manning ranks among Super Bowl era QBs

Peyton Manning declines to comment on possible retirement

Mike Carey not heard from again after being wrong earlier

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Aqib Talib wipes out on NFL Network

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Five biggest boneheaded plays of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Cam Newton gives questionable effort to recover fumble

Lions say Calvin Johnson's future still not determined

How Louisville basketball bungled their self-imposed ban

Ted Ginn Jr. whiffs on football twice on one play, results in Panthers turnover

Kony Ealy makes one-handed interception of Peyton Manning

Mike Carey gets another call wrong on incomplete pass in SB

Steph Curry beats Panthers' "Keep Pounding" drum

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

WATCH: Panthers' Jonathan Stewart leaps over pile for TD

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker