We found out Saturday that Amar'e Stoudemire will miss the next six weeks as he recovers from a right-knee debridement, a procedure that will remove debris from the joint. With Carmelo Anthony battling his own injury issues, STAT appeared prepared to step into a bigger role for the New York Knicks as the regular season wound down, but now he'll be lucky to play in a couple of games before the postseason tips off.
They got a taste of life without either star Saturday and came up big, crushing the Utah Jazz 113-84. They got extra offense from Steve Novak, who canned 5 3s, and J.R. Smith, who had 24 points (10-19 FG) and 4 3s. Long term, though, they are going to have to find some bigs to step up in place of STAT. Kenyon Martin showed up with 10 points (4-6 FG), 6 boards and 2 steals in 21 minutes as the first big off the bench Saturday.
More help may come via free agency:
"They could also cut [Rasheed Wallace] and use the roster spot to add a player," wrote ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley. "But as long as Martin is healthy and effective, there may not be a need to let Wallace go."
That may be particularly true if Chris Copeland steps up:
Jared Zwerling and Ian Begley
"If there's one player on the Knicks who's definitely taken advantage of his slim minutes, it's Chris Copeland. Entering Saturday, the forward was averaging 6.5 points in about 12 minutes per game, and tonight in the Knicks' big win, he scored 12 points in only seven fourth-quarter minutes. He showed off his inside-out scoring versatility once again, and now that Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire are banged up, Mike Woodson knows that he's got to play the 28-year-old rookie more. ... Before tonight, Copeland hadn't played in the past eight Knicks games, mostly for defensive reasons. But he said he's been committed to making stops by absorbing a lot of knowledge from the veterans on the team."