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Opening Tip: Without Camby, what's next?

1/11/2013

Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: With Marcus Camby likely out against the Bulls, which frontcourt bench player should be called upon more?

Camby was seen leaving the locker room at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Thursday night in crutches and a walking boot -- obviously not a good sign.

So how should Mike Woodson massage the big man minutes heading into Friday night?

For starters, Kurt Thomas should get the start at power forward, alongside Tyson Chandler. Thomas hit two jump shots off pick-and-rolls against the Pacers, and the Knicks could use an outside threat at the four position to create some additional spacing for Chandler to roll to the basket. In addition, Thomas banged well with Indiana's bigs.

From there, Chris Copeland should get additional burn. One of the biggest individual positives from tonight was his season-high six rebounds (three offensive). In some previous games, he would only have one or two boards. So the fact that he didn't back down from the physical Pacers is a great sign heading into another aggressive matchup on Friday night.

As for Amar'e Stoudemire, don't expect him to play more than what he played against the Pacers (22 minutes), especially because it's his first back-to-back of the season. That means the Knicks will have to rely more on Thomas and Copeland -- and, of course, Chandler.

The Knicks' starting center needs a big rebound game in the worst way, even though he put up 12 points and 15 rebounds against the Pacers. In his previous outing against the Bulls on Dec. 21 -- a Knicks' loss -- he only finished with one field goal.

There's no question that without Camby, the Knicks will be in more of a pickle against Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer, who's been on a tear recently. But the Knicks need someone to step up.

Which Knicks' big man will that need to be? Leave us your comments below.

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