Jason Kidd back in starting lineup

Updated: February 1, 2013, 8:34 PM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- New York Knicks' guard Jason Kidd returned to the starting lineup on Friday night after missing the team's win over Orlando on Wednesday with a sore lower back.

Kidd started at shooting guard for the Knicks against the Milwaukee Bucks alongside point guard Raymond Felton.

Coach Mike Woodson hopes that he can keep play Kidd between 20-25 minutes both tonight and for the remainder of the regular season.

The 39-year-old played at least 30 minutes in eight of the 12 games that Felton missed recently due to a fractured right pinkie.

"He's put in a lot of minutes during Raymond's absence: 30-plus minutes a game. That's just too many minutes for him," Woodson said.

"Now that Raymond's back we can can kind of go back to where we were earlier in the season in terms of where his minutes were."

Kidd has been an integral piece for the Knicks, who enter play Friday at 28-15.

He is averaging eight points, 3.9 assists and 1.8 steals in 28.5 minutes per night.

Woodson has cited Kidd several times this season for making the small plays, such as coming up with a steal or getting a loose ball, that lead to wins.

The coach calls him the Knicks' "glue guy."

As such, Woodson's goal is to keep Kidd healthy and fresh for the stretch run of the regular season and the postseason, assuming the Knicks qualify for it.

"Kidd's a big part of what we're doing here," Woodson said earlier this week. "And when it really counts I'm going to need him."

Kidd sat out of Wednesday's game for precautionary reasons. Earlier in the year, he missed four games due to lower back spasms. The injury flared up again last Thursday in the Knicks' win over Boston.

He played a total of 15 minutes in the Knicks' next two games, leaving the bench early in both instances to get treatment on his back.

Kidd will not play with any specific minutes restrictions against the Bucks, but the 18-year veteran said on Thursday that he expects to continue to get treatment on his back.

"It's just a matter of taking care of myself," he said.

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