Monday, March 26, 2012

Stoudemire's season in question with bulging disc

Tonight's win by New York over the Milwaukee Bucks meant a lot for the Knick's playoff picture. It increased their lead over the Bucks to 2.5 games and brought the team record back to .500 for the season. However the grind-out game was won without stars Jeremy Lin and Amare Stoudemire, both missing time due to injury. Lin missed the night's game with a sore right knee, but could return as soon as Wednesday's game.

But Stoudemire's injury is much more crucial. Just prior to the game, it was learned that Stoudemire was out indefinitely with a bulging disc in his back. It's not clear how serious the injury is and the nature of the injury will determine how long Amare might be out. Coach Mike Woodson says that they are not currently looking at surgery, but it could be a possibility sometime in the near future. The good news, as of now, is it is not a herniated disc, which would end his season. Currently it looks like Stoudemire is in Miami getting a second opinion and this will shed some more light. But as of now it looks as if Stoudemire will miss the next couple of games.

In Stoudemire's place, the Knicks decided to go small and started three guards (Davis, Shumpert, and Fields) with Melo and Chandler. Josh Harrellson and Steve Novak both got some extra minutes during tonight's game but the Knicks were able to survive with the small line-up against the Bucks relatively short roster. Jared Jeffries would also normally grab some minutes but he too is out due to injury. But, as I have said before, if Stoudemire is going to miss the remainder of the season, the Knicks need to make a move to bring in another big man. At this point many of the trade deadline casualities (Diaw, Turiaf, Hickson) have been signed and the Knicks are left with less options. But the Knicks were already running with little depth in the front court and the injury to Stoudemire and Jeffries just emphasizes that lack out depth. Unless the Knicks trust rookie Harrellson to play big minutes they are going to need to make some move.

This, of course, isn't the first time Stoudemire has dealt with a back injury in New York. Amare was hampered by a muscle strain in his back during the playoff series against the Celtics last year. This kept him from his normal offseason training and forced him to rehab for much of the extended offseason.

This is a bad time of the season to lose one of the team's most talented players. The Knicks face a tough stretch of games over the remainder of the season and are in a tight playoff race against the Bucks. If the Knicks are able to survive the playoff race, Stoudemire has a month until the April 28th start of the NBA playoffs. The Knicks will hope that will be long enough to get him back on the court.

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