Raymond Felton spoke to reporters at an Under Armour event Monday night and, along with updates on his own self, was kind enough to apprise us of Amar'e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani's statuses. Last we heard, Bargnani was home in Italy, missing EuroBasket as he recovered from pneumonia. Now he's with the team, doing team things. From Marc Berman:
"He was really sick,’’ Felton said. "He had pneumonia, was out about a month. He’s a little winded right now. The guy was in bed and wasn’t allowed to work out for a month. He looks great. Everything I was hoping he’s going to do, he did it the first day we played pickup. I’m excited as a point guard. He’ll be a big help to our team.’’
It makes sense that Andrea would be wheezing a bit in his first full-court run since il polmonite, but it's great news that he's even out there. Better to build those wind reserves back up now than a week from now, when training camp begins and the coaches are watching.
Amar'e's likely in better shape than Bargnani at this point, but the Knicks are more concerned with preservation than readiness in his case. He's not scrimmaging right now, and probably won't go too hard in training camp, either. From Ian Begley:
The Knicks forward has been working out at the facility but has opted against taking part in scrimmages to protect his oft-injured knees, teammate Raymond Felton said.
To Felton, Stoudemire is taking a wise approach.
"We don't want to risk [injury]. Not in practice. We'd rather have them for the 82 [games] that we have coming up," Felton said at an Under Armor-sponsored event at Macy's in Manhattan.
Felton said there is no need for Stoudemire to exert himself during the team's seven-day training camp, which starts on Tuesday.
"We really don't need him to go as hard," Felton said. "We need him to be there, as far as just seeing what's going on. But as far as him going up and down banging, doing all that, we don't want to risk that."
On one hand, it sucks to turn down opportunities to mesh. There's always more mesh to mesh, and the Knicks are still far enough from perfect chemistry that extra reps could make some difference. On the other hand, the Knicks have reason to believe Amar'e's knees can only withstand so many minutes before something swells or ruptures again. Better to expend those minutes with a scoreboard running than to burn through precious scar tissue in practice, mesh be damned. That's nothing new, but it sounds more concrete this time around. 2013-14 will be New York's fourth try at finding a balance between optimal production and optimal health from Amar'e, and-- with sparse practice and a potential minutes cap-- they're playing it safer than ever before.
As for Ray himself: The Penguin reiterates that he's lighter and quicker than he was last season. That's what they always say, but I'm not gonna turn down an opportunity to call him "Raymond Svelton".
Training camp begins in exactly one week. ONE WEEK.