MIAMI -- For the first time in-person, Amare Stoudemire showed the 15-something stitches he received after lacerating his left hand on a fire extinguisher during his last visit in Miami.
While STAT was addressing reporters after Wednesday morning's shootaround at American Airlines Arena, he wasn't wearing a bandage on the injury -- but that, of course, will change for Game 5.
"I'm pretty sure I'll have it extremely wrapped tonight before the game," he said. "It's still pretty stitched up, but it's very secure. My strength is coming back slowly but surely, so tonight I'll feel great."
Here's how Stoudemire described the protective device he'll be wearing on his left hand: "It's layered with like a Vaseline gauze and then a small strip of padding that goes over it. Then, we put some type of gel padding on the side of it, so if I do have contact on the area, it won't compress on the actual injury. And then we just wrap it up."
After recording a double-double (20 points and 10 rebounds) in the Knicks' Game 4 win on Sunday, Stoudemire will again be limited Wednesday night.
"I still won't be able to dunk with two hands or grab an aggressive rebound," he said. "I can't defend or block shots with the left hand. I don't want to get this hand in the passing lane, so I'm still very limited with the left hand, but I'll be OK."
Stoudemire credited the team playing with more energy and aggressiveness as keys to the Game 4 victory. For himself, he wanted to play that way to compensate for his physical challenge, especially in the paint. Since he probably knew his trademark midrange shooting may be difficult, he moved his game closer to the basket like a true center. He fought hard for positioning and had two dunks in the first quarter, and then made two shots by the basket midway through the third that sparked the Knicks to a 10-0 run.
"I was being very active, just trying to be in the right place at the right time," he said. "Even if I can't grab a rebound, I'll tap it out to my teammates. It was a team effort. Guys were boxing out and I just happened to walk in and grab a few rebounds, which helped. Having great players around me makes the game easier."
Stoudemire said the Knicks will have to bring that same level of energy and aggressiveness to Game 5 because the Heat are going to do the same right from the start, feeding off their fans, in order to close out the series.
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