GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Chris Smith, the younger brother of J.R. Smith, will have surgery on his left patella tendon Thursday and will be out three to six months, the Knicks announced after practice Wednesday.
The point guard, who signed a non-guaranteed contract for training camp, had missed the last few days of practice with a sore left knee. He said he "sensed it was bad" after he recently felt his knee tweak a little bit, and then he experienced swelling and a loss of some balance.
"It's tough because everybody wants to play," Smith said. "Nobody wants to sit out, especially for me because I haven't missed a practice throughout my whole college career (at Louisville). It's just heartbreaking really."
Chris said he believed he would make the team -- "without a doubt," he said -- especially because of his defense (Mike Woodson's forte).
"He's a hell of a player and he's been working hard," J.R. Smith said. "To have this injury going into training camp when you're trying to make a team and prove yourself, it's frustrating. My job as a teammate is to keep pushing him and make sure he gets back to 100 percent."
In addition to Chris Smith, Marcus Camby (strained left calf; out about another week), James White (sore right hamstring) and Rasheed Wallace (not fit to play, according to Woodson) will not travel with the Knicks on Wednesday to Washington, D.C., for their first preseason game.
Woody said this about Wallace, who joined the Knicks after being retired for two seasons: "He's not ready yet to get on the floor, in terms of conditioning. Until he gets where I think he should be, we'll hold him back and eventually get him out there. He'll stay back and go through rehab. We'll see him when we get back."
With injuries to the backcourt and frontcourt, it presents a great opportunity for shooting guard Mychel Thompson, and stretch fours John Shurna and Chris Copeland to make a first big impression against the Wizards.
AND, STARTING AT SHOOTING GUARD IS ... Woodson said it will be a game-time decision, and J.R. Smith is prepared either way.
"Whatever he needs me to do, that's whatever I'll do," he said. "If he wants me to come off the bench, I'll come off the bench. If he wants me to start, I'll start."
Woodson said he's planning to use Jason Kidd at the two, and even three. That's because he can knock down the 3-point shot -- he's third all-time in makes (1,874) behind Ray Allen and Reggie Miller -- and he has the build (6-4, 210) and smarts to guard opposing forwards in smaller lineups.
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