Yeah. Yesterday's Knicks practice-- the first in almost a month and a welcome event after some sloppy games-- didn't end up being quite the uniting landmark occasion I hoped it'd be. Carmelo Anthony shot around but did not practice on his hyper-extended-and-that's-all-we-hope left knee, Tyson Chandler rested what they're calling a sprained ankle (mild, I suppose, since everyone says he'll play Tuesday), Rasheed Wallace remained sidelined, Raymond Felton's probably off somewhere shouting at a muffin, and Jason Kidd took a day to rest his olds. Iman Shumpert was only cleared to do non-contact things, so that left nine relatively healthy Knicks plus a coach's assistant to scrimmage. Not the uplifting reunion I was picturing heading into 2013. I doubt the practice even took the form of a spirited montage. Bummer.
Thankfully, Amar'e Stoudemire was among those who did scrimmage. He ran with the white squad and shared mildly encouraging words after the fact:
"It felt pretty good," said Stoudemire, who scrimmaged with the second unit — which included a coach’s assistant just to get the number of bodies to 10. "Hopefully, I’ll get a good reaction out of it tonight and tomorrow, see how it feels. But it’s all predicated on how I feel the following day after a long hard day like today. ... I was able to move how I wanted with little restriction, but not much.
"I can do pretty much anything, but it just feels sore when I make certain moves," he concluded. "It would be great if I could go on Jan. 1, [but] I can’t determine how I feel tomorrow or the following day."
Fair enough. This is momentarily concerning taken at face value:
"I know a lot of our guys are pretty banged up. It’s been a long season so far. If it’s needed for me to sacrifice my body for the betterment of the team then I will," Stoudemire said. "But hopefully, I’ll continue to improve the next two days where I can feel 100 percent before I get back out there."
But I kinda think he's just saying that, and I don't think the Knicks-- after all this careful rehabilitation-- would allow Amar'e to do anything even remotely resembling sacrificing his body (wouldn't even let him, like, sacrifice a goat). I'm fine with the team trotting out as many Kurt Thomases and losing as many games as they have to to make sure nobody-- not Amar'e, not Melo, not Tyson, not anyone-- has to come back too soon and invite risk of further injury. There's no "betterment of the team" in rushing back for one game in a way that jeopardizes every game thereafter.
I suppose we'll hear at some point about how Amar'e feels this morning (not sure what the team has planned for today), but at this point, I wouldn't expect him to make his return Tuesday, and that's fine with me.