Amar'e Stoudemire hopes to return by Wednesday.

Mar 12, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Knicks power forward Amare Stoudemire (1) during pre game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

So, apparently Amar'e Stoudemire and his back had been targeting a return date of this Sunday against the Heat. That somehow never entered my consciousness. Anyway, that target date has been pushed into the future (I'm never sure whether that counts as "forward" or "back"), and Stoudemire is now hoping to come back in the middle of next week. Here's Marc Berman's report:

Amar’e Stoudemire is looking good, but not for Sunday against the Miami Dream Team. He has pushed back his return a few days and is eyeing the second night of a back-to-back, next Wednesday in Newark against the Nets, if all goes smoothly.

...

Stoudemire, a co-captain and team spokesman, hasn’t spoken to the media since he became injured 18 days ago. Wednesday night, when asked if he would talk after he did back exercises on a large physio ball, Stoudemire replied, "Negative. I’ll let you know when I’m ready.’’

The not speaking to media thing is still a little weird, though I haven't heard anybody but the reporters themselves get too worked up about it. As for returning next week...cool! Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks could definitely use the help on offense. Then again, they've done all right without Amar'e, so he mustn't rush things. Keep shooting jumpers and balancing on that inflatable ball thing while people poke you until you're in tip-top shape, Amar'e. The playoffs are what matter most. (That's true, isn't it? I don't know a lot about the playoffs. You still try to win the games and stuff, right?).

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