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GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) -- Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury was away from the team again Thursday, and coach Isiah Thomas wasn't sure when he'd return.
Marbury has missed six of the last nine games since his father died Dec. 2.
Thomas hesitated when asked if he expected Marbury to bounce back and be a contributor.
"He's really having a rough time," Thomas said. "I hope that he can come out of this because he's having a very difficult time."
Marbury officially did not attend Thursday's practice because of a combination of flu-like symptoms and personal reasons. Thomas did not expect him to travel to Friday's game at Charlotte.
"I'm more concerned with Steph just getting back to being happy and dealing with the stuff he has to deal with more than getting back for basketball purposes," guard Jamal Crawford said.
Donald Marbury died after becoming ill while attending a game at Madison Square Garden. Stephon Marbury was in uniform for Wednesday's win over Cleveland but did not play. He had rejoined the team Sunday and played Monday, but didn't practice Tuesday on what would have been his father's birthday.
"We'll get him as much time as he needs," said Thomas, who hadn't yet spoken with Marbury on Thursday. "Again, he's having a very difficult time."
The mood was otherwise upbeat after Thursday's practice. A night earlier, the Knicks posted their most lopsided victory of the season, 108-90 over the reigning Eastern Conference champs.
Forward David Lee started laughing when he was asked if he slept better Wednesday night.
"Absolutely," he said. "Are you kidding me? I got home and went right to sleep. I had a couple nights where I didn't sleep as well thinking about a couple of those losses, so it was great to get a win."
The Knicks have strung together back-to-back victories just twice this season, and each time both wins were at home.
"I think this could be a big stepping stone for us," Lee said. "I guess we're going to see tomorrow. That's the big test: Can we follow it up with another win?"
absolutely. there's nothing quite like losing a family member. especially a parent. it's times like those when you remember there is much much more to life than a stupid basketball game.
The death of his father is really affecting him big time.
As we all know basketball is 90% mental and right now, Steph is very emotionally unstable...
the death plus the fact that his dad's bday was a few days ago coupled with the fact that it's xmas - he's really struggling to cope with the whole situation.
The fact that Marbury has lost weight so quickly is a sure fire sign of depression. I hope that he is able to deal with this ordeal and move on a stronger person.
i can see steph coming back blazing hot. Hes a fighter, hes got heart. Right now hes going through a tough time but i expect him to come back extremely focused.
I must say also i respect crawford and isiah for showing patience. Its nice to know that people come before winning.
well the knicks arent really familiar wit winning either way...
I think this is waking crawford up and he is becoming a captain ... i feel for u marbury i say give all the time he needs
well idk...well yea crawford can become our leader hopefully he just gets betta...like become more consistent and take smart shots and HUSTLE AND D UP
Jamal Crawford is a leader
of losing basketball.
There are whispers Marbury may not even come back at all.
For his sake, I think he should take the rest of the season off and try to have his contract bought out. Then make a judgment if he wants to return to NBA later on.
Athlete's have parents, children, and all other types of close relatives past away. And they all move on and go back to work, like our employer's would expect and demand from us.
Pretty soon, the media will catch on to this and nail him for his overall body of work this season. Being the over and borderline unstable emotional guy he is, I don't think he would be able to take any more stress.
If he makes an announcement that he isn't coming back now, people will be more understanding of it. But it remains a mystery when he will return, the critics will start to slam him just like Randolph got slammed for missing those few games.
The timing of all this was horrible for him. But coming back to the Knicks would probably not help his stress level. Looking at him on the bench the last game, the dude really looked like sick and tormented.
I don't blame him though. God forbid anything happened to my little sister, I would quit my job and stay home for months trying to regroup.
i always felt playing basketball was a way to get away from things like dat, i me personally i rather play ball than be home and thinking about da death of a close one but i guess ppl handle it different