This is not an ideal start to the season in Manhattan.
Amar’e Stoudemire will miss the Knicks regular season opener against the Nets, likely followed by another game or two, as he recovers from a minor knee problem. Al Iannazzone, who covers the Knicks for Newsday, broke the story.
This is, in and of itself, not that serious (if the cyst really is all there is). It doesn’t require surgery. He likely misses just a few games. But there are bigger implications and questions.
First, popliteal cysts are often a sign of arthritis or other damage. More chronic issues.
The other issue, the big question, is how does coach Mike Woodson adjust his starting lineup? I would recommend moving Carmelo Anthony to the four spot, where he can be very dangerous (he was for Team USA this summer) and essentially go with a smaller, quicker lineup anchored by Tyson Chandler in the paint. Start Raymond Felton, J.R. Smith, Ronnie Brewer, Anthony and Chandler. I’ve got a feeling as the season goes on that may be a very effective lineup for the Knicks. (Even though that could create waves in the NYC media as they see the team is less effective with Stoudemire on the floor.)
‘Melo at the four is especially smart since Woodson’s next likely option at the four is Kurt Thomas. Anthony can still be on the wing like he wants from the four spot, but if the Knicks are playing Thomas as the starter it’s going to be a rough way to start the season. (Technically the Knicks could go the other way and go big, put Marcus Camby at the four, but then there is no center depth and he can’t really handle the minutes.)
The fun is already starting in New York.
Through the first two weeks of training camp, the Pelicans have seen their frontcourt depth decimated by injuries to Alexis Ajinca and Omer Asik, both of whom are out for a few weeks. A deal with Greg Smith fell through after he failed a physical. Now, Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that they’re signing former Knicks and Nets center Jerome Jordan as a short-term solution:
Jordan has only played 65 games in his career and hasn’t been spectacular, but the Pelicans need a body while their two centers are out. Anthony Davis will spend some time at center, but considering the contracts Asik and Ajinca got this summer, Alvin Gentry clearly plans on playing him at power forward as well, and they need a center to at least fill time before Asik and Ajinca get back.
He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.
Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:
“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”
Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.
“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”
At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.