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- Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire is scheduled to have a right knee debridement this coming week and is expected to miss approximately six weeks. Stoudemire, averaging 14.2 points and 5.0 rebounds, already had offseason knee surgery on his left knee and returned to the court Jan. 1. Stoudemire recently played four games in five nights and had taken on an increased workload, although his minutes limit was set at 30 per game. ”I feel for Amar’e because he’s put a lot of work in this summer to get back out on the court and what he went through at the beginning of camp and now he’s gotta go back in again,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “I feel for the young man because he’s put so much time and hard work in. But we gotta go on.” Added Woodson: “It’s a major loss to what we’re trying to do, but we’re going to have to wait on him and continue our climb. We can’t sit and sulk and feel upset about it. Guys have gotta step up play.” Woodson said the Knicks will have to rely more on 40-year-old Kurt Thomas, 38-year-old Marcus Camby and 35-year-old Kenyon Martin to play more frontcourt minutes. “We gotta mix and match from a lineup standpoint and see what happens,” he said. The NBA playoffs begin April 20, exactly six weeks from today.
- Carmelo Anthony will also miss his third straight game with a stiff/sore right knee. Anthony is the NBA’s second-leading scorer. The Knicks are 4-5 without him this season. “You play basketball,” Knicks center Tyson Chandler said before the Stoudemire news was announced. “This is the New York Knicks. It ain’t about Melo, it’s not about Amar’e, it’s not about Tyson Chandler. It ain’t about any other individual. It’s a team. It’s not tennis or golf or anything else that’s an individual sport.”
- Without Anthony and Stoudemire, the Knicks will start Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, James White, Kurt Thomas and Chandler, but will rely on Chris Copeland and J.R. Smith off the bench. “Tonight we might have to lean on Cope some because we’re going to need some offense,” Woodson said. Smith is coming off a 36-point outing in Thursday’s loss to Oklahoma City, but he missed two go-ahead shots down the stretch.
- The Knicks begin a five-game West Coast swing Monday at Golden State that coincides with the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden.
- The Jazz are coming off an 89-88 loss Friday at Chicago in which Utah’s Gordon Hayward missed an open 15-footer that would have won the game. Al Jefferson scored 23 points for Utah in his first game back after missing three games with a sprained ankle.
- The Jazz have lost three in a row and six of the last seven games.
– Adam Zagoria