A long-time supporter of Stephon Marbury, Isiah Thomas evidently is uncertain of the mercurial point guard's future with the New York Knicks.

Thomas was evasive Thursday afternoon when asked about Marbury's status with the team, an interesting development in the ongoing saga involving the embattled coach-player tandem.

Marbury has been on bereavement leave since the death of his father on December 2. The two-time All-Star has missed four straight games and eight of the last nine, including Wednesday's 110-96 loss to the Orlando Magic.

A day after claiming that he expected Marbury to return at some point this season, Thomas backed off those comments Thursday.

"I don't know," Thomas said when asked if Marbury would return this season.

Marbury was expected to return from bereavement on Wednesday, but missed the team flight to Orlando.

Marbury's playing status has been a constant uncertainty since he unceremoniously left the team on November 13 upon learning that he had been demoted from the starting lineup.

After missing a game against the Suns that night, he returned to the Knicks two days later and came off the bench in their next three contests.

Marbury is averaging 13.6 points and 4.7 assists in 18 games this season. New York (8-20) is 1-7 in the last eight games Marbury has missed.


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