NEW YORK -- New Knick Andrea Bargnani spent a month confined to his bed in the offseason, plagued by pneumonia.
The illness kept him from competing with the Italian National team in Eurobasket in September. It also left him a bit out of basketball shape heading into training camp.
After spending the past month on the court with the Knicks, Bargnani's fitness is improving. But he's still not as fit as he'd like to be heading into the season.
"I've still got to get better, of course. Once you stay 30 days without doing anything, I never had that in my life," Bargnani said after Saturday's practice at Madison Square Garden. "Obviously, playing basketball, you're always used to practicing in the summer time. I never had [to sit out]. I'm still working and getting better every day, still working hard in the weight room and running. I'm getting better every day."
Bargnani shot 2-for-10 in 27 minutes in the Knicks' loss to Charlotte on Friday. He went 24 for 63 from the floor in the preseason, including 3-for-15 from beyond the arc (20 percent).
LINEUP SHIFT? Mike Woodson is committed to starting the season with a big lineup featuring Iman Shumpert or J.R. Smith at shooting guard and Carmelo Anthony at small forward. But he hasn't ruled out playing a smaller lineup with Anthony at power forward.
"I'll experiment with it, but I've got options this year, guys," Woodson said. "I mean, I can always go small with Melo at the 4, with small teams. And throw Bargnani in there when we [play] big teams.
"Again, it's not a matter of who starts. It's what you do with the minutes that you're in there, and that's kind of the message I'm sending everybody on this team. You've got to give productive minutes when you're on the floor if you want to play."
SHOULDERING ON: Anthony revealed Saturday that he didn't shoot a basketball for several weeks over the summer while rehabbing the partially torn rotator cuff and labrum in his left shoulder. He says his shoulder is 100 percent healthy heading into the regular season. ... The Knicks practiced at MSG on Saturday to get a feel for the arena. Friday was their first home game of the preseason. They spent the first six on the road as Garden workers put the finishing touches on the third phase of renovation. They shot just 37 percent from the floor in a loss to Charlotte. ... Woodson will give the Knicks a day off on Sunday.
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