For the first time since last season, New York Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire, J.R. Smith, and Kenyon Martin scrimmaged with the team on Tuesday. This is good news for Knick fans as the home opener is just a week away.
Head coach Mike Woodson spoke to media after practice on Tuesday and stated, ”A lot of talent and depth. If we’re able to stay healthy and there’s no setbacks we got a lot of depth.”
There’s no doubt the Knick have plenty of depth, but the key to the team’s success this season is staying healthy- Especially for six time all-star Amar’e Stoudemire, who has had three knee surgeries within the last 10 months.
As reported by Al Iannazzone of Newsday, Stoudemire felt better than expected after scrimmaging with the team in Toronto on Tuesday-
“I felt extremely strong,” Stoudemire said. “My legs may be as strong as they’ve ever been before. I felt no discomfort at all. I felt no pain at all. So great, great sign.”
It is not likely Stoudemire or Martin will play in the Knicks’ next preseason game on Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, nor their preseason finale against the Charlotte Bobcats, however, if there is a possibility they can play in the Knicks’ home opener next Wednesday against the Bucks.
Coach Woodson seemed impressed with Smith after scrimmaging, and says it’s likely he will play in Friday’s preseason finale- ”The way J.R. moved it’s like he hasn’t missed a beat,” Woodson said.
Because Smith has to serve a 5-game suspension for violating the terms of the NBA’s drug policy, the earliest he can play this season is November 10th against the San Antonio Spurs. Smith does not expect to have any restrictions when he returns- ”No minute restrictions,” Smith said. “When I come back I want to be able to go out there full strength, full head of steam with no restrictions. If I’m under restrictions I’m not at the best ability to help the team.”
As for Stoudemire and Martin, who is still nursing an ankle injury from last season, there will be both minute and game restrictions. Coach Woodson said neither of them will play back-to-back games, and will alternate in those situations.
Stoudemire, who didn’t get to play in last year’s opener says it’s his goal to play in this season’s opener against the Bucks.