Long layoff allowing Knicks to get healthy

Amar'e Stoudemire, here rehabbibg before Game 4 of the Celtics series, may be ready to go on Saturday. Credit: Getty Images
Amar’e Stoudemire, here rehabbing before Game 4 of the Celtics series, may be ready to go on Saturday.
Credit: Getty Images

The Knicks bounced back in a big way Tuesday night, but must now suffer the scheduling quirk of having to wait until Saturday night to play Game 3.

But despite the unreasonable waiting time and the stoppage in momentum, a few good things can come from the wait. Point guard Raymond Felton tweaked an ankle toward the end of the third quarter of the blowout win, and did not return, so the extra rest will do him well. Felton was seen limping around the locker room after the win but said during his postgame interview that he’s “fine.”

Knicks head coach Mike Woodson agreed Felton seemed fine and took him out mostly out of precaution because of the damage the 30-2 run did to the Pacers.

Woodson said they’ll need a healthy Felton because of the amount of pick-and-roll they run, and the options that come off of that set.

“Raymond is a big piece of the puzzle. He runs that pick-and-roll great – especially if everybody runs it right and separates correctly [because] then somebody’s always gonna be open,” Woodson said. “When the ball is not stopped, any number of guys have an opportunity to be a part of the play and be a playmaker and either score or pass it. … We’re not the only team that runs it. There’s a number of teams in our league that run it, but it has been a successful play for us throughout the season and Raymond is the reason why.”

The Knicks had a scheduled day off from practice Wednesday, but Felton acknowledged he’ll still be able to get in a light workout, and will “definitely” be ready for Game 3.

Another benefit of the gap between games is that Amar’e Stoudemire will also get the chance to continue to test his knee and see if he’ll be ready for his first appearance of the postseason, Saturday.

Woodson thinks all will be well with Stoudemire’s knee, as it held up during a 3-on-3 full-court session earlier in the week and another workout during Tuesday morning’s shootaround.

“He didn’t have any setbacks after going 3-on-3, and after [Wednesday’s workout] we’ll weigh it out again, and again on Thursday and see where he is,” Woodson said. “And then Friday we’ll try and get him in a 5-on-5 setting and finally see where he is. … If he doesn’t have any setbacks, we’ll probably dress him on Saturday.”

Tyson Chandler is looking forward to getting Stoudemire back in the mix, and feels the break does more good than harm – even if the gap breaks the Knicks’ momentum.

“Obviously we need Amar’e to get time, but the only way to get that is when he is practicing,” said Chandler, adding Stoudemire can even help on the boards despite not being known as a top-flight rebounder. “A lot of times if I am boxing out [Roy] Hibbert and Melo [Carmelo Anthony] is tangled with David [West], we are not able to get the rebound. So, to have him there or have the guards help crash will be a huge help.”

Knicks notes …

Woodson finished third in the Coach of the Year award, behind winner George Karl of the Nuggets (a team loaded with former Knicks) and Erik Spoelstra of the Heat. Woodson received six first-place votes and 26 second-place votes.

Steve Novak didn’t see much action in Game 2 as he’s still working his way through back spasms. Novak only played 4:55 and didn’t score, missing one shot. As of right now, because of his back condition, it appears that 29-year-old rookie Chris Copeland has temporarily passed him in the rotation. Copeland didn’t score in his 11 minutes of action, going 0-of-4.

Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.



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