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Thursday, November 7, 2013
Stephen A.: It's on Melo

By ESPNNewYork.com staff

It's time to stop hiding from the fact that the Knicks are on a fast track toward second-tier status, and only Carmelo Anthony is capable of pulling them out, Stephen A. Smith writes.

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CHANDLER HOPES TO BE BACK IN FOUR WEEKS: Tyson Chandler is walking on crutches after suffering a fractured right fibula. He spoke to reporters for the first time on Thursday and said that he hopes to return to the court in four weeks. The team's timetable for Chandler's return is 4-6 weeks.

"That's what I'm hoping for, the early side," Chandler said.

The seven-footer was relieved that he didn't suffer any ligament damage during his collision with Charlotte's Kemba Walker. Now, he'll work on rehabbing the injury and returning to the court as soon as possible.

"I just have to be here for my teammates, help [Andrea] Bargnani out with calls and try to help him get comfortable playing the five position," Chandler said.

MORE MINUTES FOR KENYON AND AMAR'E? Kenyon Martin and Amar'e Stoudemire are both playing with minutes limits, but Mike Woodson hopes they can increase those limits now that Chandler is out.

The Knicks medical staff has recommended that Stoudemire and Martin play 20 minutes per game to preserve each veteran's health over the course of the season.

Woodson said on Thursday that he hopes both players can play 15 minutes a game now that Chandler is expected to miss a month with a fibula fracture.

"If I can get them to 15, hopefully that can help me a little bit," Woodson said.

Martin, who is dealing with lingering discomfort due to a sprained ankle injury first suffered in April, played 18 minutes against Charlotte on Tuesday. Stoudemire played 11 minutes.

Woodson also said that Cole Aldrich is likely to get playing time with Chandler out. Aldrich did not play in the Knicks' first four games. Lastly, guard Beno Udrih is expected to get regular minutes as the Knicks go with a small lineup. Udrih has played a total of four minutes over the last three games ... Andrea Bargnani said the Knicks have tried to pick up the pace of their offense in two practices since Chandler went down. The guess here is that the Knicks also play some zone defense with Chandler out.

Information from Ian Begley was used in this report.