Amar’e Stoudemire is definitely out for Game 3, while his Knicks teammates are on the verge of being knocked out for good if they can’t find a way to rally without their star power forward.
Stoudemire, who is also doubtful for Game 4, had a minor surgical procedure on the muscles in his left hand following a post-Game 2 incident in which he slammed his hand into a fire extinguisher, inadvertently cutting through the glass encasing.
If the 0-2 deficit to Miami wasn’t reason enough for frustrations, the Knicks now have to contend with being even more shorthanded going forward due to Stoudemire’s haste. They’re already without point guard Jeremy Lin, who’s recovering from knee surgery, and they lost rookie star swingman Iman Shumpert to a torn ACL and lateral meniscus in Game 1.
Stoudemire knows the type of handicap he put on his team and said he’s already apologized for his mishap.
“It’s disappointing to my teammates and I didn’t want to let them down. I wasn’t expecting this much of a blow, but unfortunately it is,” Stoudemire said, describing what exactly happened. “I just walked by the fire extinguisher and just happened to hit it. The door is like 85 percent metal and like two percent glass. I wasn’t trying to hit the glass. I just walked by and swung my hand at the wall [out of frustration] and cut my hand. I didn’t know I was cut at all until Josh Harrellson told me. … After a game when you’re very passionate, things happen [but] you don’t expect you to injure yourself.”
The Knicks’ chances of winning this series were already on life support without the Stoudemire drama, but this new chapter in what has been a crazy truncated season certainly wasn’t needed.
If he was boiling inside, interim head coach Mike Woodson hid it well. He simply shrugged his shoulders and said life must go on. Woodson then noted that there is no time to feel sorry for themselves, because the Heat certainly won’t.
“He brings that defensive presence that we need to start a ball game, but I feel good about our team still,” Woodson said of Stoudemire’s absence, adding all the Heat really did was take care of their home court. “Sure, we would’ve liked to have won one of the two games down there, but we didn’t. They took care of their home court and now we have to see what we’re made of and defend our home court. … We don’t expect anything like that to happen but I, we, have to push on. We can’t just sit here and think about what’s happened.”
Reserve forward Steve Novak seems to be the one who may have to make things happen at the power forward position as the likely Game 4 starter, should Woodson decide to keep Carmelo Anthony at his customary small forward spot. Novak said he hasn’t been told whether he’ll start in Stoudemire’s place or continue to come off the bench, but added he’ll be ready for whatever scenario.
“I think whatever coach asks me to do, whether it’s start or come off the bench, is fine,” Novak said. “Obviously, I’ve come off the bench all year but I’ll do whatever. There’s a lot of emotions going on right now around here and obviously it’s not good for us, [but] I’ll be ready.”
»Point guard Jeremy Lin (knee) was seen working out with the team on Wednesday, participating in a grueling full-court, three-on-three game. Lin, who said he wants to be back in time for Sunday’s Game 4, looked as if he’s about ready for Game 3, as he didn’t show any hindrance in his step or running.
»Stoudemire said he feels confident his recovery will be swift: “There’s a great chance I’ll play, but not totally sure yet. … I persevere through a lot of injuries and work hard to recover. I should be ready to play by Sunday.”
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.