- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Tyson Chandler says there is "definitely a chance" that he'll return to the lineup Tuesday against Boston. But the Knicks big man plans to proceed with caution due to a lingering neck injury.
"It’s kind of a thing where all of me wants to be out there, obviously, with my teammates. But then again, I’ve got to be smart for my teammates at the same time," Chandler said.
The Knicks have listed Chandler as questionable for Tuesday's game.
He has missed the Knicks' last six games due to a bulging disk in his neck. The Knicks said last Monday that Chandler would miss "approximately" a week. New York is 4-2 in Chandler's absence.
The All-Star center participated in some shooting drills during a light practice on Monday before the team departed for Boston.
Chandler says there is some lingering pain in his neck.
"I’m not worried about just a little pain. It’s more so I don’t want to be back in a predicament where I come back and then I’m out for a week or so," Chandler said. "When I’m back I want to be back.”
The Knicks can ill afford to lose Chandler for an extended period. They are without big men Amar'e Stoudemire (right knee), Kurt Thomas (stress reaction/right foot) and Rasheed Wallace (stress fracture/left foot) for at least the rest of the regular season.
Chandler also suffered a bone bruise on his left knee on March 13 against Denver. He said his knee is no longer an issue. He hurt his neck after a collision with Denver's Kenneth Faried and remains concerned about lingering issues.
"I need to not go into a spasm whenever I’m in a vulnerable position, whether I’m reaching to block a shot or in a defensive stance. Right now, it’s still a little sore," Chandler said. "Hopefully, (Tuesday, I'll) go through shootaround and see from there."
Coach Mike Woodson said he'd "played it by ear" with Chandler and base his final decision on how the player feels after shootaround on Tuesday morning.
Kenyon Martin has performed well in Chandler's absence.
In the Knicks' four-game winning streak, Martin has averaged 14.3 points and 7.5 rebounds and has hit 75 percent of his shots.
Woodson says Martin will be on the bench when Chandler returns. But Chandler and Martin figure to share the floor together at times. That's something Chandler is looking forward to.
"I love it," he said. "I can't wait to get out there and play alongside him."
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