Alan Hahn's post on New York Knicks | Latest updates on Sulia
Amar'e Stoudemire is ready for his second comeback of the season. Are his teammates ready for him? More:
"We can really use him right now," Tyson Chandler said.
Stoudemire's presence alone gives the Knicks more size against the Pacers big front line, which is what Chandler sees as a positive. And he won't take minutes away from Chandler or Kenyon Martin, especially since it is likely he will play only 10 to 15 minutes "if that", according to Mike Woodson.
The bottom line is, it's early enough in the series to at least get a look at Stoudemire in the rotation.
"If he's feeling pretty good, we'll put him in a uniform and see what he can do for us," Woodson said.
Stoudemire acknowledged his own tempered expectations, but just wants to contribute in this playoff run.
"Means a lot," he said. "It means everything to contribute and continue for a title. Obviously we've got a lot more to go . . . but to be able to contribute is awesome."
Before his second knee procedure, Stoudemire was showing signs of his vintage form, with great explosion at the rim and some good post moves. It took several games for him to find his timing, rhythm and conditioning and that's what is the greatest concern here, because in the playoffs, there just isn't time to experiment or catch up.
"I'm not playing 40 minutes a night," he said. "As far as my conditioning now, it's in great shape as far as the time I'm going to play. If I was playing 40 minutes a night, than I'd give myself more time to get in better shape."
His cap during the regular season was 25 to 30 minutes, though after Carmelo Anthony's injury, he went over it a few times. Woodson said they might have pushed him too much at that point, but it won't happen again.
Stoudemire likely won't ever be a player who gets a heavy load of minutes, but he can provide some much-needed scoring off the bench in a limited role.
The issue is time: either Stoudemire has to quickly adapt or Woodson has to make a quick decision to leave him on the bench.
Still, Game 3 in Indiana will be notable if only for this: it will be the first time all season that the entire 15-man roster is healthy and available to play.