Raymond Felton expecting to return Saturday

1/22/13 in NBA   |   IvanRogers   |   1352 respect

As the New York Knicks enter a difficult stretch in their timetable, upcoming changes to the injury report could reduce their backcourt struggles this season. New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton, who’s been out since late December with a broken right pinkie was cleared for non-contact practice on Tuesday. Raymond Felton participated in conditioning and shooting drills on Tuesday and felt optimistic about returning early, adding there was a “big chance” he could play against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.
“I feel great, I feel good, just waiting to get back on the court, that’s all,” said Raymond Felton as made jump shots and participated in conditioning drills with just tape holding his fractured pinkie to the ring finger. “I can practice without putting a brace on my hand. ... Basically, I can use my right hand again."
However, Raymond Felton fears returning too early from the injury and risk missing another 2-3 months rehabbing from hand surgery.
"Everybody looks at it as a little pinkie, all that, he shouldn't be out,” said Raymond Felton, “but I fractured that pinkie in three places."
Raymond Felton injured his pinkie during the New York Knicks Christmas win over the Detroit Pistons. Since then, New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson had to give Jason Kidd a lot more time in the rotation.
"We missed (Felton) a lot. He's a big part of the puzzle. We didn't bring Kidd in to play 30-plus minutes a game,” said Mike Woodson.  “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, two, I've got to be open-minded about Raymond's finger."
Meanwhile, other teammates such as J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony have also been picking up the slack of playmaking duties in the pick-and-roll scheme. While New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony provided tremendous help setting up the New York Knicks for nine points on pick-and-roll plays during Monday’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets, the mounting pressure is affecting his own game. Carmelo Anthony scored only two points – on free throws – during the fourth quarter and missed a decisive jump shot that could have given the New York Knicks the 86-85 lead with 11 seconds left in the game.
"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,” New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire noted the features Raymond Felton could reintroduce. “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."
Raymond Felton recounted that being sidelined for such a long period has been a “terrifying” and “painful” experience and he hopes to get back to helping his teammates as soon as possible. The New York Knicks are 5-6 without Raymond Felton.
"This is the longest I've ever been out for an injury ever in my career," said Raymond Felton, "so it's been tough mentally for me, but I've been fighting through and making sure I'm staying in shape."
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