- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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But we do know this: the Knicks plan to be ultra-conservative with both veterans this season.
Mike Woodson reiterated on Saturday that he plans to alternate using Stoudemire and Martin when the Knicks play consecutive games. So if Stoudemire plays the first game of a back-to-back, you can expect to see Martin in the second game.
But Woodson took the plan a step further on Saturday, suggesting for the first time that Martin and Stoudemire could be alternating games throughout the season, depending on how many days off the Knicks have between games.
"I’m really considering alternating them from game to game. If there is a game and there’s three or four days between the next game, then we can play them both. But if there’s four in five nights, we’ll probably alternate each guy," Woodson said.
The Knicks have taken a cautious approach with both players in the preseason.
Stoudemire underwent a knee procedure over the summer -- his third operation in the past 12 months -- and was limited to just 29 games in the regular season last season due to knee ailments.
Martin is still feeling the effects of an ankle injury he suffered last April.
That's why Woodson and the Knicks' medical staff have recommended giving both regular rest during the season.
"We can kind of manage the season that way [so] they’re not being lost [to injury] because I pounded them for too many games in a row and they weren’t ready for it," Woodson said. "So we’re just going to take it a day at a time, a week at a time, and a month at a time, and see if we can grow with those two guys. I think we can."
Both Stoudemire and Martin have practiced sparingly during the preseason and training camp. The veteran forwards made their preseason debuts Friday night against Charlotte after sitting out the first six games of the exhibition season.
Stoudemire had six points on 3-of-4 shooting in 12 minutes. Martin had two points and one rebound in eight minutes.
Woodson said both Stoudemire, 30, and Martin, 35, will start with a minutes limit of 10 per game this season. But the coach is hopeful that the limit can increase as the season goes along.
"We're going to see where it takes us," Woodson said.
The Knicks expect to have both Stoudemire and Martin in the season opener on Wednesday, but both players have to get through practice on Monday and Tuesday before they can be declared ready for the game against Milwaukee.
"I'm very optimistic that everything's going to be fine," Woodson said.
With Stoudemire's knees, there is always a fear he's just one trip down the court from another ailment.
In addition to his three most recent surgeries, Stoudemire had microfracture surgery on his knee in 2005.
Due to injuries, his five-year, $100 million contract with the Knicks is uninsured. The six-time All Star has two years remaining on his deal.
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2dIan O'Connor, ESPN Senior Writer