Knicks expect Amar’e Stoudemire to return for Game 3
Stoudemire has been sidelined since May 7 and underwent surgery to clean debris out of his right knee the subsequent week. At the time, the timetable for Stoudemire’s return was scheduled at eight weeks. He missed the New York Knick first playoffs series against the Boston Celtics while rehabbing from the knee injury.
But if the 30-year-old Stoudemire continues progressing at the current rate, according to scheduled he will be ready to play in Game 3 of the Knicks-Pacers series. Woodson ruled out Stoudemire’s presence in the first two games of the Eastern conference semifinals, which begins with Game 1 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
Woodson said Stoudemire is expected to participate in scrimmage with his teammates on Thursday. If his knee doesn’t suffer any setbacks, Stoudemire could scrimmage again on Friday, ahead of Saturday’s Game 3.
"If he feels fine after Friday, then I think we will play him Saturday," said Woodson.
However, some have speculated whether Stoudemire’s re-entrance into the New York Knicks’ lineup in Game 3 could risk jeopardizing their chemistry during the playoffs. The New York Knicks finished the regular season 17-6 in Stoudemire’s absence and won the first-round series 4-2 again without him.
With Stoudemire sidelined, Kenyon Martin emerged as a key contributor. While Stoudemire’s return is not likely to cut back Martin’s minutes, injured Steve Novak could see lesser time on the floor.
Woodson believed Stoudemire’s interior presence could help them against an Indiana Pacers team with the size advantage in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
"If he's right he can help us a lot. There's no doubt," said Woodson.
The Indiana Pacers dominated on the boards against the Atlanta Hawks in their playoffs first-series by averaging 11 rebounds per game. The Indiana Pacers rebounded a postseason-high 56.3 percent of their misses. Sotudemire, who had 14.2 points on 57 percent of his field goals in this season also averaged five rebounds in 23.5 minutes per game. With such numbers, Stoudemire could help out Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin in the paint.
Moreover, Stoudemire gives the New York Knicks additionally depth at their big men position, which could come in handy considering Chandler and Martin were often in foul trouble while taking the floor at center against the Boston Celtics in the first-series.
"[Amar’e Stoudemire] will give us another big man to rotate," stated Chandler.