Amar'e may return on New Year's Day

Could Amar'e Stoudemire make his season debut with the Knicks on January 1?

In an interview with ESPN's Heather Cox on Tuesday, Stoudemire acknowledged that the Blazers game on Jan. 1 could be a target for his return, if his rehabilitation continues without impediment.

The Knicks had hoped Stoudemire would return sometime during their three-game road trip from Dec. 25-28.

But that appears unlikely.

Mike Woodson would prefer Stoudemire to have some practice time with his teammates. Last week, Stoudemire practiced with the Knicks' D League team, the Erie BayHawks, because the Knicks did not hold practice due to a condensed schedule.

The Knicks have the opportunity to practice on Sunday and Monday prior to Tuesday's game against Portland.

When Cox asked Stoudemire about Jan. 1 during the Knicks-Lakers Christmas Day game, the star forward said it 'would be a target game', assuming he suffers no setbacks in his rehab.

Stoudemire has missed the entire regular season following left knee surgery.

He has said that he'd accept whichever role Woodson asks him to play once he returns.

It's unclear if Stoudemire will return to his starting power forward spot or come off the bench.

The Knicks have established great chemistry during their 20-7 start and some wonder whether Stoudemire's presence could have a negative impact on that chemistry.