The Knicks have heard all the old jokes before. Undoubtedly they heard a few more in the wake
of losing 39-year-old Jason Kidd (back spasms) and 38-year-old Marcus Camby (foot) to recent injuries.
But head coach Mike Woodson said the Knicks were built to withstanding such adversity.
“That’s the key with this team. When guys go down you have to be ready when called upon to play, and if you’re asked to play big minutes then you play them,” said Woodson. “That’s the beauty behind what we did this summer in building this team, [because] we got guys who were interchangeable and could play multiple positions that can help us when guys go down. … Last year, we got caught really badly at the end of the season. Guys went down and we just didn’t have enough guys to support the guys that went down.”
The Knicks’ current roster will need to band together, especially as Kidd works his way back into the lineup, starting with tomorrow night’s matchup with the surprising Bobcats. Kidd is listed as probable but Woodson said despite his veteran guard looking good in practice, he won’t rush him back into starter’s minutes.
“He practiced today, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. It was nice seeing him back on the floor, [but] it’s based on how he feels [Wednesday] after he sleeps and gets up,” Woodson said. “He’s probable, so we’ll play it by ear, [but] I can’t play him a lot of minutes right now, so we’ll monitor it as we go along. I’ve got to be open minded because we’re in it for the long haul and don’t want any setbacks.”
Camby is a different story, though, as the backup power forward/center has been used sparingly even when healthy. Woodson said Camby is officially listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game in Charlotte.
“He’s still day-to-day with the foot [injury]. I don’t know the extent of it but it’s been bothering him, so we have to continue on treating him and wait for him to get back,” said Woodson, who then tried to justify why Camby hasn’t played a larger role yet. “I’ve gone with what I thought were the guys I’ve wanted to see on the floor, and they’ve performed. Marcus has been a pro about this whole thing and he’ll do whatever is asked of him. And when he’s ready to play, he’ll get back out there because we’re going to need him.”
If Kidd can’t go, point guard Raymond Felton will certainly be needed. Felton is recovering from a contusion and bone bruise on his left hand that he suffered in Sunday’s matinee win over the Suns.
Felton is a North Carolina product, played at the University of North Carolina and was the starting point guard on the Bobcats when he led the franchise to its first and only postseason appearance following the 2009-10 season, so he said he’s definitely playing.
He added that going home again and trying to bury the team that allowed him to walk away as a free agent following that season is a nice reason to come back, but added he’s more interested in just coming back to help his team stay atop the Atlantic Division.
“It’s big because I get to see my family, and see my son, [and] I have a lot of friends coming out to see that game,” said Felton. “But more importantly I just want to help my teammates out and get a win.”
Felton said he’ll wear a protective wrap around his left hand and thumb, but doesn’t think it’ll affect him much.
“I’m sore, but I’ll be all right. It kind of hurts when the ball hits my hand from a pass, but I can deal with that type of pain. I’m fine shooting-wise,” Felton said. “I think [I will log full minutes], as long as I don’t have a freak accident or anything like getting smacked too hard, or fall on it. … I’ll wear this [hand wrap] for a while, just for protection. The last time I was here [in 2010-11] I played with something like this.”
The Knicks may be as deep as any team in the league, when healthy, but the truth is it’s a roster full of niche players and guys who aren’t capable of logging a lot of minutes each night. Having a bunch of middle-aged players with over 10 years of experience is great, but only if those players are used properly. That means guys like 35-year-old point guard Pablo Prigioni, 38-year-old forward Rasheed Wallace and 40-year-old forward Kurt Thomas can’t honestly be expected to log 20 minutes per night. But if Kidd Camby can’t add something to the rotation, that’s exactly what Knicks’ fans may see.
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.