After undergoing preseason knee surgery, New York Knicks All-Star forward Amar'e Stoudemirewill make his season debut on Tuesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers, a league source told Yahoo! Sports.
Amar'e Stoudemire takes a practice shot before the Knicks' home game vs. the Lakers on Dec. 13. (AP).
>Whether or not Carmelo Anthony returns from his hyper-extended knee on Tuesday, the plan remains for Stoudemire to come off the Knicks' bench. Anthony told reporters that he will test his knee in pre-game on Tuesday and then make a determination on returning to the lineup.
Stoudemire, 30, has been one of the NBA's elite power forwards and had come into training camp believing he had worked himself into the best shape of his professional career. Nevertheless, Stoudemire suffered a knee injury in October, underwent surgery on Oct. 21 and has been rehabbing the injury most recently in practices with the Knicks' D-League franchise in Erie and finally with the Knicks.
"We need him," Anthony told Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears on Friday. "I know we are playing well, but the more bodies, the better, especially at this point where guys are doing well. …We are ready for him."
The Knicks are 21-9, leaders in the Atlantic Division and a half-game behind the Miami Heat for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
New York: The Knicks have enjoyed two days at MSG Training Center for rare practice sessions and the chance to rest and recover from a three-game west coast road trip last week. Carmelo Anthony practiced one of the two days in New York but did not participate in all of the drills on Monday afternoon. Head coach Mike Woodson said the MVP candidate is day-to-day and Anthony added that he will most likely make a decision close to game time on Tuesday night. Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd received recovery days after the two players’ logged major minutes during the road trip. Raymond Felton is out 4-6 weeks due to a fractured right pinky finger. At 21-9, the Knicks are a half game behind the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference standings and 5.5 games over the Nets for the Atlantic Division lead.
Portland: The Blazers entered the 2012-13 season with a new general manager and head coach. Additionally, Portland drafted one of the elite players in the NBA Draft by selecting Damian Lillard out of Weber State. Lillard joins a young nucleus that has aspirations of reaching the postseason after a 28-38 finish last year. This season, the Blazers have been up and down until a recent surge of five wins in seven games leading up to the matchup against the Knicks. Portland is now 15-14 overall and the contest in New York will kick off a four-game road trip.
Key Match Up
Definitely concerned about Amar'e's propensity to fall for fakes or leave his man against Aldridge. If he were to quickly get in to foul trouble, all the energy and expectation will be flushed down the proverbial lavatory.