Monday, October 29, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Amar'e out at least 6 weeks
By Ian Begley
WHAT IT MEANS: Amar'e Stoudemire is out for at least the first six weeks of the season, so the scoring load for the Knicks falls even more squarely on Carmelo Anthony's shoulders.
Whether Anthony plays small forward or power forward, he will need to score and score often for the Knicks, but do so in an efficient manner.
It also wouldn't hurt if Raymond Felton shoots from the outside like he did late in the preseason and J.R. Smith plays with some consistency early on.
Anthony has said that he doesn't need to dominate the ball this season, which sounds great. But with Stoudemire out for an extended period of time, Anthony can be excused for taking over in spurts, particularly when the Knicks are struggling to find secondary scoring.
WHEN WILL STAT BE BACK? That's unclear at this point. Any issue surrounding Stoudemire's left knee certainly raises a red flag. He underwent microfracture surgery on the same knee in 2005 and has bounced back well, but many experts say it's only a matter of time before any knee repaired via microfracture surgery regresses.
Stoudemire's five-year contract with the Knicks is uninsured due to his history of knee issues.
As far as the most recent knee issue, the Knicks originally called it a bone bruise and said Stoudemire was day-to-day. Then the team said it was a ruptured popliteal cyst and that Stoudemire would be out 2-3 weeks. Now, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard, they're expected to announce on Tuesday that Stoudemire will be out at least six weeks.
According to Broussard, it's unclear whether Stoudemire will use that time to rest or undergo a surgical procedure.
So there's really no way to know at this point when he'll return.
WHO FILLS IN? That probably depends on the Knicks' opponent that night. If the Knicks face a smaller lineup, Carmelo Anthony will probably start at power forward with Ronnie Brewer or, possibly, J.R. Smith at small forward. Against bigger lineups, you can expect Kurt Thomas to start at power forward and Anthony to remain at small forward. You could argue that the Knicks are stronger defensively with either lineup than they are with a healthy Stoudemire.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks have two days to prepare for the season opener against a vastly improved Brooklyn team. Then they start a rough stretch of schedule: Their next eight games -- and nine of 10 -- are against teams that made the playoffs last year. (One of those games is against Orlando, which gutted its roster). And they do it all without Stoudemire.