Monday, March 26, 2012
Amare, Jeremy Lin questionable
By Jared Zwerling
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin and power forward Amare Stoudemire are questionable for Monday night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Both players started experiencing pain in the third quarter during Saturday's 101-79 win over the Detroit Pistons. Lin was dealing with a sore right knee, while Stoudemire was suffering from stiffness in his back.
Coach Mike Woodson said he won't know if Lin and Stoudemire are playing Monday until they both arrive at Madison Square Garden later in the afternoon. Lin participated in shooting drills and 5-on-0 halfcourt sets during Monday morning's shootaround, but Stoudemire wasn't at the Knicks' training facility. He stayed back at his New York City apartment to receive treatment.
While Woodson didn't provide a Plan B starting five, during shootaround he used Iman Shumpert at shooting guard, moved Landry Fields to the three and made Carmelo Anthony the power forward. Shumpert on the Bucks' lightning-quick shooting guard Monta Ellis, who was recently acquired in a trade with Golden State, could be a key defensive matchup in the game. But Woodson knows no lineup will be complete without Stoudemire.
"Amare's a big part of what we do. He's a big piece of our puzzle," he said. "I'd rather have him in uniform than sitting over there in suits watching the game with me. But his health is more important as we move down the road, so we've just got to gauge it, take it a day at a time and just see what happens."
Tyson Chandler said that while Stoudemire's potential absence will be felt, he's confident the bench will compensate for the loss. That has to especially happen on the boards against the Bucks, who outrebounded the Knicks 17-9 on the offensive glass in their 119-114 win on March 9.
"We all gotta step up," he said. "I've been saying all year that our team is very deep, so it's an opportunity for somebody to step up and he has to take advantage of it."
That somebody is likely rookie big man Josh Harrellson, who played extra minutes Saturday night in place of Jared Jeffries, who is out approximately two weeks with inflammation in his right knee. He finished with four points and seven rebounds against the Pistons.
Since recovering from a fractured right wrist, suffered Jan. 21 against the Denver Nuggets, he said it's improving every day -- he just can't move it all the way back just yet -- and he's getting his wind back to give the energy Stoudemire has been providing lately.
"Just go out there and hustle. Just try to do what STAT's been doing," Harrellson said. "He's been playing great defense, he's been running up and down the floor, he's been a tremendous basketball (player) these last couple weeks. He's definitely getting his legs back from sitting out all summer, so hopefully I can go in there and do the same thing. I sat out eight weeks and I'm trying to get my legs back right now, too. Hopefully I can just go out there and fill the shoes that he's been playing in."
This season, Stoudemire has only missed two games due to an injury (a sprained left ankle suffered at the start of the season), while Lin has not missed a beat since his sudden rise that started on Feb. 4.
This week marks a tough stretch for the Knicks, as they're facing the Bucks (right below the Knicks in the standings) on Monday, the third-seeded Orlando Magic on Wednesday at home and the fifth-seeded Atlanta Hawks on the road Friday night.
On a positive note, Chandler has recently not been wearing a brace on his injured left wrist, including on Monday during shootaround, in order to get his motion back.
"It's a feeling a lot better," he said.
Jared Zwerling is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.