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Friday, March 4, 2011
Chauncey Billups sits out Friday

By Ian Begley
Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- New York Knicks point guard Chauncey Billups was scratched from Friday night's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers due to a deep left thigh bruise, according to a team spokesman.

Billups suffered the injury on Tuesday against Orlando when he collided with Magic center Dwight Howard.

He sat out Wednesday's 107-88 win over the New Orleans Hornets. Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni is hopeful Billups can play in Sunday night's road game against the Hawks.

"He's got a lot of mobility. ... There's a little bit [of an injury] there and we don't want to injure it any further," D'Antoni said.

Knicks big man Ronny Turiaf is also out Friday with a sore left knee.

D'Antoni said newly acquired Jared Jeffries will replace Turiaf in the starting lineup. Toney Douglas will start in place of Billups. He will match up at some point against guard Baron Davis, who will make his Cavs debut Friday.

Starting in place of Billups, Douglas scored 24 points on Wednesday and thoroughly outplayed Hornets guard Chris Paul. Douglas had scored just nine points on 3-of-21 shooting in the three games prior to the win over New Orleans.

"I thought he played more himself. He has to do that. He has to be more aggressive," D'Antoni said of Douglas.

Jeffries played a season-high 24 minutes in his Knicks debut on Wednesday night. He entered play Friday averaging just 8.5 minutes per game, so there's concern over whether he can handle starter's minutes.

"He's rested enough," D'Antoni said. "He's ready to play."

The Knicks signed Jeffries on Tuesday after he worked out a buyout late last month with the Houston Rockets. The team was looking for depth on the front line to replace seven-footer Timofey Mozgov, who was sent to Denver in the Carmelo Anthony trade.

"That's one of the reasons we signed him, we want to see what he can give us," D'Antoni said.

The Knicks have lost two straight against Cleveland this season and have dropped the past 10 meetings between the teams. Billups, 34, has been a linchpin for the Knicks, averaging 23.3 points and six assists in four games with New York. He was acquired in the three-team, 13-player deal that brought Carmelo Anthony to New York on Feb. 22.

D'Antoni said there is "no concern" that Billups will be sidelined for a prolonged period.

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.