After missing both of the New York Knicks’ first two preseason games, Amar’e Stoudemire will finally make his preseason debut.
Stoudemire bruised his left knee during practice last week. It’s the same knee that required surgery to repair it.
Staying healthy has been something that Stoudemire has struggled with throughout his career. He’s had micro fracture surgery on both of his knees, eye surgery for his retina and a bulging disc in his back.
The Knicks will give Stoudemire the start on Friday night against the Toronto Raptors at the Bell Centre, but will sit him on Saturday night against the Boston Celtics at the Albany Times Union Center. They play three games in four nights and the Knicks can’t afford to lose Stoudemire.
“We’ll play him tonight, see how he feels, sit him in the back-to-back, then bring him back Monday,” head coach Mike Woodson said.
Friday night represents the first time that fans will be able to see the new post moves Stoudemire developed over the offseason with Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon. Establishing a post presence will be crucial for the Knicks if they’re going to have success offensively this season.
“It’s going to be very important,” Woodson said. “I think we’ve got an opportunity where we can take advantage of our post play. We have such great perimeter players, great shooters on the wing, so if we can establish a back-to-the-basket game to get some easy baskets in the paint, that’s another element to our offense.”
Another thing to watch out for is how well Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony can co-exist with each other since both players are known as more of isolation players.
While Stoudemire will be in the starting lineup tonight, the Knicks will be without Marcus Camby, J.R. Smith and Ronnie Brewer. Kurt Thomas, James White and Mychel Thompson are expected to get the majority of their playing time this weekend.