- Ian Begley, ESPN New York Writer
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Eddy Curry missed practice on Tuesday due to an illness, according to a Knicks spokesman. Curry called the team on Monday night to alert them that he was sick. He was told to stay home to avoid passing the illness along to any other players.
Because of his expiring contract, Curry is considered a valuable trade commodity. He is due to make $11.27 million this season and has been mentioned in potential trades between the Knicks and Nuggets for Carmelo Anthony. Curry has been on the inactive list the entire season; he sat the first four games with an injured hamstring but has been healthy enough to play since.
DONNIE ON MEND: Knicks president and GM Donnie Walsh continues to make progress since undergoing hip surgery in mid-November. He returned to the team earlier this month. On Tuesday, he said he is getting closer to regaining the ability to walk without a walker. He watched practice seated in a walker on the sideline.
Walsh had no comment on an ESPN.com report on Sunday that stated Anthony would only sign a three-year, $65 million extension if he is traded to the Knicks.
MINUTE MEN: Raymond Felton and Amare Stoudemire rank in the top 20 in the league in minutes played per game; both average more than 37 minutes a night. Mike D'Antoni said on Tuesday that, in a perfect world, he would cut down on their minutes played. But with the Knicks fighting to make the playoffs for the first time since 2003-04, he can't afford to sit his stars.
Landry Fields is playing 31.4 minutes per game, the third-highest total among rookies.
D'Antoni said that if the Knicks were a "dead-lock" to make the playoffs he'd sit his starters more often. Instead, he may try to get them a day off between games or shorten practice.
"If they would just start winning by 20 points, then I'd give them the fourth quarter off," D'Antoni said with a smile. "I'll just watch their minutes, watch their body language and adjust as we go on."
KELENNA NOT CLOSE: Shooting guard Kelenna Azubuike worked on his jump shot on a side court while his teammates scrimmaged on another court during Tuesday's practice. Azubuike, who was obtained from Golden State in an offseason sign-and-trade deal for David Lee, has scrimmaged with the Knicks but is not close to being cleared to play by team doctors, according to a Knicks official. Azubuike underwent surgery last November to repair a torn patellar tendon in his left knee. ... Toney Douglas did not scrimmage with the team during the portion of practice open to the media on Tuesday. He was riding a stationary bike. It is unknown if Douglas was held out due to injury.
Eddy Curry missed practice on Tuesday due to an illness, according to a Knicks spokesman. Curry called the team on Monday night to alert them that he was sick.