April 18, 2004 -- Allan Houston will consider surgery on his ailing left knee this summer only as a last resort, though some medical experts believe his persistent pain is a sign he needs a second arthroscopic procedure.
Houston is expected to miss the Lincoln Tunnel Series, though Tim Thomas' injury could motivate him to rethink his decision. Yesterday, Houston, who dressed but did not play, talked about possibly being used as a free-throw specialist late in a close game.
The Knicks guard underwent microfracture surgery last June to stimulate cartilage growth in the knee. Dr. Howard Luks, a knee cartilage expert at Westchester Medical Center, recently told The Post that Houston's lingering pain is due to an insufficient amount of strong cartilage having grown back. Dr. Luks, who has never viewed Houston's X-rays, said the symptoms usually calls for another microfracture surgery to stimulate more cartilage growth.
Houston will not yet consider that option, as he's under a counter-program to strengthen parts around the knee. "I'm doing what I'm doing to prevent [surgery]," Houston said. "If I were going to go out and do something drastic like having surgery, I don't think it will help. After a while, surgery causes changes that you don't really want. What I'm trying to do is do the things to allow the body to heal. The misconception is it can't heal but it can. That's what I'm doing."
* Knick legend John Starks, on assignment for MSG Network, praised Frank Williams for flattening Jason Kidd with a second-quarter shove.
After colliding with Williams, Kidd stood over the Knick guard as he was prone on the court, making it tough for him to get up.
"He did what he was supposed to do," said Starks, one of the toughest Knicks ever - and one who believes Williams has a big future.
When Williams came out, two Nets fans in the front row shouted "Punk." Starks lectured the Net fans, saying Williams shouldn't be viewed a punk for sticking up for himself. Moments later, the Net fans asked Starks for his autograph.