NEW YORK (AP) — Amare Stoudemire is making his season debut and Carmelo Anthony is back in the starting lineup for the New York Knicks against Portland.
Stoudemire will come off the bench as he plays his way back into shape following left knee surgery Oct. 31. Both Stoudemire and coach Mike Woodson said the forward's minutes would be limited in Tuesday night's game.
"It's been a long time coming. I've been so ready to play, I put in so much hard work this offseason and then to have to sit out for the first half of this season, but now to be back, I'm so ready to go," Stoudemire said. "I'm ready to provide whatever my team needs to improve, so that's what I'm here for."
Anthony missed two games with a hyperextended left knee, an injury that occurred in the Knicks' loss to the Lakers on Christmas. The Knicks are still without point guard Raymond Felton because of a broken right pinky, and Rasheed Wallace remains out with a sore left foot.
That makes Stoudemire's return even more important for the Knicks, though it was unclear how much he would play. Woodson would only say it would be less than 30 minutes. Stoudemire said he wasn't worried about warming up and then going back to the bench at the start, though Woodson said it was something to monitor.
"That's always a concern, but again, it's what we're faced with," Woodson said. "That's why big minutes at the early stage of him going through this process won't be to his advantage, so we've just got to slowly work him back in."