GREENBURGH, N.Y - Knicks center Amare Stoudemire sat out of the team’s five-on-five scrimmage during the portion of Tuesday's practice open to the media to protect the “stinger” in his neck.
Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said that Stoudemire’s absence was precautionary and he is expected to play on Wednesday against Oklahoma City.
The Knicks play just three games in the next seven days so D’Antoni believes the injury will be completely healed, rather than something Stoudemire will have to play through on a long-term basis.
“It should be just temporary. We’re just making sure it’s in the stage of getting well and it doesn’t get hit unnecessarily,” D’Antoni said. “He could get hit tomorrow night and it could be sore for a few more games. But it shouldn’t be something other than just being a nuisance to us.”
Stoudemire reportedly first started feeling pain last week. Against Cleveland on Saturday, he told reporters that he felt soreness in his neck and that his left arm was numb. He sat out most of the third quarter of the Knicks’ overtime loss to the Cavs.
Stoudemire has logged 37.8 minutes per game through 28 games, averaging 26.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.
DOUGLAS SITS WITH SORE SHOULDER: The Knicks announced on Tuesday that backup point guard Toney Douglas has suffered a sprained right shoulder. He did not practice on Tuesday, but D’Antoni expects him to play against Oklahoma City on Wednesday.
“There’s no use roughing him up when we don’t have to,” D’Antoni said in explaining Douglas’ absence.
Douglas is part of a Knicks bench that hasn’t produced much recently. Knicks reserves scored 12 and seven points in losses last week to the Celtics and Heat, respectively. D’Antoni used three players off the bench Saturday night against Cleveland. They combined for 25 points. But all five starters played a minimum of 39 minutes against the Cavs. D’Antoni said he hoped to decrease the burden on the starters against Oklahoma City.
The coach suggested that reserve Shawne Williams’ minutes can increase to 20-25 per night. He currently plays 12.3 minutes a game.
D'Antoni also said that a healthy Douglas would ease the burden on his starting guards. Douglas has averaged 23 minutes per night.
“If he can get well, then we can get his minutes back up to where they should be,” D’Antoni. “That would alleviate a lot of stuff on Raymond Felton and also on Amare. But again, I’ve got to be a little more liberal with those guys.”