The New York Knicks have finally been able to string together a few wins and for the first time in two years, Amar’e Stoudemire is playing very good basketball. The playoffs are in sight and though the Knicks have struggled mightily this season, they still have a good shot at playing in the postseason. Two nights ago, Stoudemire scored a season-high 23 points. He made 9 of 10 shots, pushing his field goal percentage in March up to 64 percent. The previous game, Stoudemire grabbed 12 rebounds while scoring 17 points. He’s in a groove and has been a key part on getting New York back on track. But, an old nuisance came back to bother Stoudemire.
Stoudemire had knee surgery over the summer and missed time this season due to recurring inflammation in the knee. Before March, Amar’e has only played over 30 minutes in a game four times. In the last week, he’s played over 30 minutes three times. Without surprise, his knee is acting up again. He will sit out tonight’s game against the Boston Celtics, a game the Knicks need. Just as the Knicks and Stoudemire were getting it going, he felt pain in the knee. This is not a good sign for the future of Stoudemire’s career.
The Knicks would have been lucky to trade Amar’e this off-season along with his expiring contract. The $23 million they owe him next year warrants a laugh each time it’s mentioned — but it’s reality. With this constant knee issue, there won’t be a team in the NBA willing to take anywhere near that type of contract. What Stoudemire’s nagging knee essentially means is that the Knicks are stuck with him until his contract is over. They will have to get whatever they can out of him until then, knowing that he can’t play a full game very often and that he’ll have to take a game off every week or two.
Stoudemire’s absence will have added impact tonight since Tyson Chandler is out for a second straight game with a non-disclosed personal issue. With the way this season has gone for the Knicks, the possibilities are endless as to why Chandler isn’t with the team. It’s a shame that Stoudemire has to miss a game when he’s playing the best ball of his last two seasons. If he is going to look like a 40-year-old man like he has the last two years, the Knicks are better off without him on the court. But with the way he’s been playing recently, the Knicks need him. Hopefully he can keep the momentum going when he’s back in action.