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For Amar'e, J.R. and K-Mart, the time is now

10/25/2013

NEW YORK -- J.R. Smith, Amar'e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin will make their debuts for the New York Knicks on Friday night against the Charlotte Bobcats.

Woodson said Smith will play 10-12 minutes, and Stoudemire is expected to play 10 minutes in two five-minute intervals. It is unclear how many minutes Martin will play.

Smith's return is significant. He underwent surgery to repair his patella and a meniscus tear in his left knee in July and has been out since. He also received a five-game suspension for violating the league's anti-drug policy in September which the NBA has stated Smith will begin when he is healthy enough to take the court. So, by playing Friday night, Smith ensures that his mandatory five-game absence will start Wednesday when the Knicks open the season. He will be eligible to return Nov. 10 against San Antonio.

Stoudemire (knee) and Martin (ankle) have both sat out all of the Knicks' first six preseason games.

Stoudemire underwent a knee procedure over the summer -- his third operation in the past 12 months -- and the Knicks are being cautious with the six-time All-Star. They plan to play him on a strict minutes limit and will not play him in both games of back-to-back sets.

The same goes for Martin. The veteran forward has missed several practices and all of the Knicks' preseason games due to lingering discomfort in his left ankle. The ailment is a concern for the Knicks because Martin first injured his ankle way back in April.

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