Amare Stoudemire out with ankle sprain

Updated: January 3, 2012, 10:19 AM ET
By Christopher Hunt | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Amare Stoudemire sat out a second straight game Monday as the New York Knicks lost 90-85 to the Toronto Raptors. Rookie Josh Harrellson started again in his place.

Stoudemire sprained his left ankle last Thursday in the Knicks' loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. He said it happened on a pick-and-roll play.

The Knicks forward said the training staff has been "overloading" the ankle with treatment and he could tell there was improvement, but the staff determined after testing Monday morning that he needed a few more days

Stoudemire said that there is a strong possibility that he will return for Wednesday's game against Charlotte. He added that he wants to be cautious with the injury because of the shortened season and packed schedule. He was not concerned about what missing games could do to the team's chemistry on the court.

"I've been with these guys now for a while," he said. "I understand how the game is played so there's really no rush. It's really more so about my health and making sure I'm 100 percent."

The Knicks were also without rookie guard Iman Shumpert (knee) and forward Jared Jeffries (calf).

Stoudemire did not participate in the morning shootaround. Harrellson gave the frontcourt a lift in his first career start. He put up 14 points and 12 rebounds in New York's 114-92 win over the Sacramento Kings Saturday.

"We like Josh," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said in the pregame conference. "We like him for what he does. This is going to help him without a doubt. If we had everybody here and everybody's healthy then maybe he doesn't play as much and we don't know as soon as we did that the guy can play. We thought he could."

The 6-foot-10 forward is a valuable body in the paint and also stretches the floor with his shooting ability. D'Antoni said that Harrellson's only downside right now is his inexperience, but with Stoudemire and Jeffries on the bench, and the Knicks struggling on the glass, Harrellson should see extended time Monday night. He played 38 minutes in Sacramento.

"I think he's a very smart basketball player, especially defensively," D'Antoni said of the rookie. "He understands how to use his body. He's very strong. I mean, really strong. You cannot move him. He also does it in a way that he doesn't pick up fouls. He's very smart."

Christopher Hunt is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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