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Curry almost ready to return

The oft-injured big is on the way back from hamstring issues and was in a full lather trying to keep up with the energetic Ronny Turiaf, who was nursing a sprained left knee himself.      

Intensity was the word of the day at the Knicks’ facilities yesterday.

The starters were seen working individually on the side with assistant coaches, trainers, and ball boys, while most of the reserves were hard at work in a 4-on-4 full-court post-practice scrimmage. One notable player hustling and bustling was Eddy Curry. The oft-injured big is on the way back from hamstring issues and was in a full lather trying to keep up with the energetic Ronny Turiaf, who was nursing a sprained left knee himself.

Curry, who hasn’t suited up yet this season, said he’s almost ready to return. He didn’t seem to labor much but did look somewhat lost in executing Mike D’Antoni’s patented pick-and-roll plays. That’s to be expected considering Curry only played a handful of games these past two seasons. As out of the loop he may be, Curry said he’s anxious to get back on the floor for games that really matter.

“I feel good, I feel like I’m ready,” he said. “I feel I can go but obviously it’s not my decision but if it were I’d be out there.”

Curry gave a nod to Turiaf, who ratcheted up the mood and passion. The scrimmage was filled with hard banging, hustle and intensity – three things that have been missing since Turiaf’s absence. Turiaf was on a four-man team that also included Andy Rautins, Timofey Mozgov and Shawne Williams. Curry’s team included Anthony Randolph, Bill Walker and Roger Mason, Jr. Turiaf’s team seemingly lost, as he could be seen storming off the court following the scrimmage, in no mood to stop and chat with the media.

Curry beamed when recounting the physical game and the sore way Turiaf handled the defeat.

“He’s always intense,” Curry said with a smile. “If you can match his intensity or come close to it that means you’re working pretty hard out there.”

Never known for his outward intensity or vocal leadership skills, Curry is still a highly-skilled big man and when healthy and motivated he can be a factor. He’s accepted his current plight and said he’ll handle it to the best of his ability.

“I think we just realized that if we want to be a good team it starts with the bench,” Curry said. “My job – until I get back on the court for real – is to push players as hard as I can and make everyone else better.”

Team president Donnie Walsh said it won’t be him calling the shots on Curry’s return but he sure hope it’s soon.

“He’s out here playing full court again but I don’t know when that judgement will be made,” Walsh said when asked if Curry is close to being activated. “It’ll be combination of how Eddy feels and Mike [D’Antoni]. But we could use him. He’s a big man and has talent.”

Like the 10 new players on the roster, Walsh said Curry will have to get acclimated as quickly as possible to the system – and that’s no easy task.

“It takes players time to adjust to the speed of the game when you play like that because you’re making quick decisions on the fly and that’s not normal,” Walsh said.

D’Antoni made it a point to make practice more intense yesterday following Sunday’s meltdown at home to the Houston Rockets. And while he said he’ll relish the day when Curry can finally add some much needed size, D’Antoni also said it’ll be a learning experience for the big man.

“We have to see how that goes. He needs to get back into the system,” D’Antoni said when asked about Curry’s status. “It’s hard to add new elements when you’re struggling [especially] when you have to put it into context that we’re trying to figure this out and we added 10 new players. We’re not playing at the speed that we need to play but we will solve it…we’ll have to evaluate [Curry’s status] day to day.”

 
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