Amar’e Stoudemire returned to the court on Monday scrimmaging with the Knicks’ second unit. Three days following his solid preseason debut, Stoudemire says he feels good and expects to play in Wednesday night’s season-opener against the Bucks.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Stoudemire said. “I feel good so far. We got practice again tomorrow and we go from there.”
Stoudemire, who underwent his third knee operation this summer in 12 months, returned to the court Friday night for against the Charlotte Bobcats, scoring up 6 points on 3-of-4 shooting in 12 minutes.
“I feel great, to finally get back out there was a great feeling. Everything went well,” said Stoudemire. “I feel strong, I feel no soreness right now after the game, so I’m sure we’ll be ready to go for Wednesday.
Stoudemire, who showed a couple of strong post-up moves in his 12 minutes of action, showed he had life left for someone who has had three knee surgeries in the last calendar year. Not known as a defensive specialist, Stoudemire even blocked a shot and had one called back on a goal tending. When he was taken out of the game in the fourth quarter, the fans at the Garden gave him a standing ovation.
“I thought STAT showed some positive minutes,” Coach Mike Woodson said.
Woodson has stated that he plans to alternate using Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin when his squad play back-to-back games. That means that if Stoudemire plays the first game, you can expect to see Martin in the second game. New York opens the season with back-to back games as they will play the Bulls in Chicago on Thursday night following the season opener against the Milwaukee Bucks.
“Yeah, it’s fine with me,” Stoudemire said about alternating consecutive games. “I think with Kenyon and I, I think we both are somewhat the same feel as far as trying to recover from injuries, and so whatever it takes for us to prolong our career and be ready for the postseason, I think that’s the right approach. So we’re just taking a strategic approach toward the season and making sure we’re ready for longevity.”
Stoudemire averaged 14.2 points in 29 games last season after returning from his first knee surgery. He wants to be efficient like he last every year during every limited minute he is out there for.
“I’m the hardest worker in this league, man,” Stoudemire said. “Absolutely, I feel like just being efficient is the key. As I was last year with playing 23 minutes, averaging what I did, I think that’s great efficiency. I want to continue that process of staying efficient with the amount of time I get out there and being productive and dominate while I’m out there.”
Woodson has said he won’t announce his starting lineup until opening night on Wednesday.