- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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If Amare Stoudemire returns on Sunday, will he be embraced by the Madison Square Garden crowd -- or booed?
For the second straight postseason, Stoudemire's game has been compromised by a self-inflicted injury.
Last year, he hurt his back during a trick dunk attempt before Game 2 of the Knicks' first-round series against Boston and was limited by the injury.
This season, he suffered lacerations to his left hand after hitting the glass casing of a fire extinguisher in Miami after the Knicks' Game 2 loss.
He sat out Game 3 of the Knicks-Heat series and is a game-time decision for Game 4.
If he plays, it will be interesting to see how the Madison Square Garden crowd reacts.
Mike Woodson thinks the fans should remain in Stoudemire's corner.
"They should be supportive," Woodson said. "Amare, has been, I think pretty solid all year. Hey, it was bad judgement on his part in what he's done, but he's in a New York uniform. He's a big part of what we do."
"I love Amare and these fans, they know he made a mistake but they'll be in his corner, I think."
Earlier this week, Stoudemire said that fans who were critical of him may have misunderstood his actions.
"Everybody's going to have their own opinion. That's freedom of speech, so I can't get upset with the amendment," Stoudemire said. "My job is to stay focused on the task at hand. My teammates understand the situation. Most athletes around the world understand what happens (when players lose their tempers after games). It happens every day in sports. But an injury doesn't really occur, most of the time."
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