Amare Stoudemire hopes to play
Speaking for the first time since he injured his hand after hitting the glass case of a fire extinguisher after Game 2 of the New York Knicks-Miami Heat series, Amare Stoudemire called the incident an "unfortunate" one that resulted in unintended consequences.
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"It wasn't like I had a closed fist and just punched through the glass," Stoudemire said Wednesday. "It was nothing like that. I just walked by, wanted to make some noise, swung my arm, hit the fire extinguisher door and didn't even realize I was cut at all until Josh Harrellson told me I was cut.
"Then I saw the cut. Unfortunately after games, when it's very passionate, things happen. You don't expect ... to injure yourself, but you've just got to deal with it."
Stoudemire will miss Game 3 and is listed as doubtful for Game 4, though he is optimistic he will suit up for the Knicks on Sunday.
"I persevere through a lot of injuries. And I work hard to recover from injuries. So by the hands of the most high, hopefully I'll be ready to play for Sunday," he said.
Mike Woodson said Carmelo Anthony will start at power forward on Thursday, a position in which he thrived during Stoudemire's four-week absence because of a back injury. Woodson said he will decide on Thursday morning who will start at small forward for the Knicks, though sharpshooter Steve Novak is a candidate.
"I've got to push on. I can't sit here and worry about what has happened. It's happened," Woodson said. "It's done. We got to move on. I got to get these guys ready to play that's in uniform."
Stoudemire suffered the laceration on the inside of his palm, on the side of his hand closest to the pinkie, moments after the Knicks' 104-94 loss to the Heat on Monday night.
The power forward said he was surprised that his hand was cut as badly as it was.
"I was like holy s--- when I hit my hand on the fire extinguisher door. I took a look at my hand. I was like, 'What?' " he said.
"I was very upset with myself. I was sad at the moment. I was feeling bad for my teammates. And out of all the times after games when you kick over ice, a chair, a cooler, you kick over a chair ... Everybody gets upset, you're so passionate for the game, everyone gets upset at times.
"But never in a million years would I think that I actually cut my hand the way I did, so, bad timing, but I'll be back."
A source who witnessed the incident told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard that Stoudemire's hand was "just hanging off" after he hit the glass case.
"He didn't haul off and punch the glass; he hit it out of frustration," the source told Broussard. "He kind of slapped it, but with a closed fist. He said he thought it was plastic instead of glass.
"Half of his hand was just hanging off. It was really bad. Blood was just squirting out. That's why they had the paramedics come in, because they thought he might have punctured an artery because of how much blood was coming out."
A second league source said that amid the chaotic scene in the locker room, people could be heard calling for towels to tend to the injured Stoudemire, who already had bled onto the floor.
The Knicks say Stoudemire will be reassessed after Game 4. A team source said there is a possibility Stoudemire could miss the rest of the series, regardless of how long it goes. The Knicks trail the Heat 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.
Woodson said Stoudemire was "very apologetic" in a one-on-one conversation Wednesday.
"I think he owed everybody that," Woodson said. "He was very apologetic. He feels bad enough. Amare's been through a lot this year. My job is to support him because he's family. He's a part of our crew, a big piece of the puzzle. I'm going to show him all the love and support I can give him."
Anthony said he and Stoudemire exchanged text messages on Tuesday.
"He understands what was at stake, the situation. The only thing I care about is him being healthy, his hand being OK," Anthony said. "He did it, it's over with, as long as his hand is fine."
Stoudemire has heard the negative reaction to his injury from Knicks fans and the media. But he says those who are most upset don't understand the circumstances of the injury.
"I think the fans are actually thinking I had a closed fist and I punched through a glass door," said Stoudemire, who added he takes full responsibility for the incident. "So I think they've got the wrong perception of what actually happened. Obviously, I walked by and I just swung my arm backwards and hit the fire extinguisher door and sliced my hand a little bit by accident. I think they've got the wrong perception of what happened. I can understand their frustrations right now. I'm frustrated myself as well, for not being available for Game 3.
"Again, not trying to make light of the situation," he added, "but it happens all the time. Some players kick over ice coolers. Some players tip over tables. Some players even hit a chair. My thing was to hit the wall, I caught the fire extinguisher and I sliced my hand."
He said he was mostly frustrated after the game because the Knicks lost a chance to even the seven-game series.
A league source said Stoudemire may have been frustrated because he took only nine shots in Game 2. But he downplayed that idea.
"I don't think so. Coach [Mike] Woodson does a great job of figuring out what wins and what works for us," he said.
Ian Begley is a regular contributor for ESPNNewYork.com.
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