Thursday, March 28, 2013
Amar'e: Injury came at perfect time
By Jared Zwerling
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
New York Knicks power forward Amar'e Stoudemire, who has been sidelined since early March while recovering from a right knee debridement procedure, said Thursday his rehab is "going well" and that he hopes to be back in time for the playoffs.
"There's no timetable set on my return," he said during a conference call for an upcoming self-documentary. "Hopefully, I can return soon enough for the postseason. I'm gearing toward that, but I want to make sure I'm ready and 100 percent. ... It's only been two weeks since the procedure, so we're still taking precautionary measures and just making sure everything heals up perfectly before we get too far ahead of ourselves."
Earlier this week, Stoudemire addressed the injury on "SportsCenter," but Knicks coach Mike Woodson didn't seem too pleased.
"He's been on TV?" Woodson said before the Knicks' 108-101 win against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night. "News to me. I need to tell him to stay off the TV and talk to the coach."
Stoudemire had a previous debridement this season -- on his left knee in late October -- and said the recovery is similar this time. A debridement is a form of arthroscopic surgery that removes debris.
"It's the same process, same focus, same determination from any procedure, any surgery, any recovery," he said. "Nothing's going to change from that matter. Hopefully, I can be 100 percent by the postseason."
Stoudemire said that although the latest injury occurred at an opportune time, he won't return unless fully healthy.
"It actually happened I think at the perfect time because it gives me a chance to have hope to return for the postseason," he said. "If I feel 100 percent by the postseason, then I should be ready for next season as well, but if not, then I'll probably have to wait until next season."
Reflecting on the setback, the six-time All-Star said he started experiencing some pain a few days before the Knicks faced the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 7. That was the last game in which he played, finishing with 16 points and eight rebounds in 29 minutes. Soon after, an MRI revealed he needed to have a second debridement.
"It's definitely frustrating because I was starting to play well and I was feeling great," said Stoudemire, who emerged as one of the NBA's best low-post scorers this season, averaging 14.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in only 23 minutes per game. "But it comes with the game of basketball. It happens to be something that I've got to deal with in my career, so I keep my spirits up. I've got to attack my recovery like the way I attack the rim."
Stoudemire said that whenever he returns, he "absolutely" expects to resume his back-to-the-basket game. In the meantime, he has been impressed with the play of Kenyon Martin, who has been averaging 10.8 points per game on 66.1 percent shooting while collecting 2.9 offensive rebounds and nearly a block and a steal during the Knicks' six-game winning streak.
"He's playing well," Stoudemire said. "With the absence of myself and Tyson [Chandler], he's stepped in and playing solid basketball for us, and the team is doing a great job of moving the ball and playing solid defensively. So it's great to watch."
Stoudemire's documentary, "Amar'e Stoudemire: In The Moment," will premiere on EPIX on April 19, the eve of the playoffs. The project, which has been two years in the making, includes his childhood upbringing in Florida, his play with the Phoenix Suns and then the Knicks, and his current battle with the knee injury.
"It truly gives my fans an inside scoop on my life," he said. "You're going to see the full training regimen in-depth on how hard I train and what it takes to really persevere over the past two years."