Amar'e practices for first time since surgery

Knicks power forward Amar'e Stoudemire hopes to be 100 percent whenever he return to action. AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- After practicing with his teammates for the first time in more than two months, New York Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire said he isn't close to 100% healthy but is willing to take the floor Tuesday if the banged-up Knicks need him.

Stoudemire's preference, though, is to be fully healthy before he returns to the court.

"I know a lot of our guys are pretty banged up. It’s been a long season so far. If it’s needed for me to sacrifice my body for the betterment of the team then I will," Stoudemire said. "But hopefully, I’ll continue to improve the next two days where I can feel 100 percent before I get back out there."

The Knicks and Stoudemire had targeted Jan. 1 against Portland as a possible return date. But Stoudemire said he'd like to see how he feels on Monday before making any decision about playing on New Year's Day.

"If the next two days go well and I continue to improve, then that will be a great day to start playing," he said.

Stoudemire went through a full practice with the Knicks on Sunday for the first time since undergoing a debridement on his left knee on Oct. 31

While his knee feels better than it did last week while working with the Knicks' D League team, the Erie BayHawks, Stoudemire says he still feels restricted on the floor. He estimated that he's not yet at 80% health because of lingering soreness in his knee and a lack of explosiveness.

"I can do pretty much anything, but it just feels sore when I make certain moves," the power forward said. "I don’t want to have that feeling because that forces me to overcompensate. I don’t want to have that problem because that has a risk of injury when you overcompensate."

Mike Woodson wondered whether Stoudemire will ever be back to 100% because of the nature of his injury. Stoudemire also has a history of knee ailments.

"When you go through something like that, I don’t know if you could ever get back to 100 percent," Woodson said in reference to Stoudemire's most recent surgery. "But just having him back in uniform and on the floor ready to play is a plus when that time comes."

The original post-surgery timetable called for Stoudemire to miss 6-8 weeks. Monday will be two months from Stoudemire's surgery date.

While he'd be willing to play hurt on Tuesday, Stoudemire clearly would prefer to take the court with no restrictions.

"I want to get to that point. I’m not quite there yet," he said. "I want to feel comfortable with all the movements on the basketball court."

With or without Stoudemire, Woodson had hoped to have more healthy bodies on Tuesday than he did in the Knicks' past two games, when New York (21-9) was without Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton and Rasheed Wallace. But that may not be the case.

Anthony's status is uncertain due to a hyperextended left knee.

Anthony has missed the Knicks' past two games due to the ailment and did not participate in practice on Sunday.

He shot around on the side and Woodson did not know if he'd have his leading scorer for the Portland game.

"He’s just day to day and we’ll take it a day at a time," Woodson said.

The same can be said of Wallace. The veteran power forward has missed the past eight games due to a stress reaction in his left foot. Wallace did not practice Sunday. It is unclear if he will practice Monday.

Also, Tyson Chandler missed practice due to a sprained right ankle and Jason Kidd also sat out of Sunday's practice for what the team is calling a recovery day.

Woodson said he will have both players on Tuesday.

In other injury news, Iman Shumpert practiced with the team for the first time since undergoing ACL surgery on May 2.

He did not participate in contact drills. He hopes to return sometime in mid- to late January.

"He had a lot of pop in his step but he couldn’t do any contact yet, so that’s the next step as we move up the road for him," Woodson said.

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