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Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Updated: March 2, 7:21 AM ET
Chauncey Billups has bruised thigh

By Ian O'Connor

ORLANDO, Fla. -- As he hobbled about the New York Knicks' locker room Tuesday night, wincing from the pain in his bruised left thigh, Chauncey Billups did not look or sound like a man who would be ready to play against New Orleans Wednesday night in the Garden.

"Of course I've been kneed a few times," Billups said after Dwight Howard nailed him in the final minutes of Orlando's 116-110 victory. "But never this bad."

Billups managed to make 18 of 20 free throws and score 30 points before Howard's knee put him out of commission with 2:13 to go.

"It's real sore, man, really sore," Billups said. "Hopefully it gets better though."

The Knicks point guard called the injury a "pretty deep contusion," and said he would decide whether he could play against the Hornets after testing the leg Wednesday. As soundly as Billups has played in the four games since being dealt by Denver in the Carmelo Anthony trade, his absence would amount to a devastating blow to the Knicks' lineup.

Asked Tuesday night if he needed to feel much better in 21 hours to suit up in the Garden, Billups said, "Yeah, sure. For me to come out at that stage of the game is rare."

Ian O'Connor is a reporter and columnist for