When news broke that Amar’e Stoudemire might be out longer than expected with a left knee injury, Rasheed Wallace being drafted into action before he appears ready for it certainly was a possibility.
With Stoudemire and Marcus Camby definitely out, and Tyson Chandler possibly out for opening night, the Knicks simply don’t have very many options.
Now, with New York tipping off its season just four days from now, the team is taking a closer look at Wallace, and pushing him to be ready for some real work off the bench come Wednesday night.
From Nate Taylor of the New York Times:
Wallace has not done a lot on the court since retiring after the 2010 N.B.A. finals. He did not play in the preseason because of his lack of fitness. On Friday he participated in halfcourt sets with his teammates for the first time. Woodson expects to push Wallace again Saturday by having him run the full court in a scrimmage with the team for at least 20 minutes.
This was not the plan Woodson envisioned when Wallace joined the team Oct. 3. On that day, the Knicks hoped Wallace could bring a veteran presence, help teammates throughout the season and work his way into shape for the postseason.
The Knicks are already looking at starting the league’s oldest player in Kurt Thomas, but he’s at least been active since his tenure began back in 1995. Thomas even appeared in 53 games for Portland a season ago, and averaged 15.2 minutes per contest.
As if Wallace’s two-year absence from the NBA wasn’t enough of a concern, it’s been apparent this preseason that he has a long way to go to work himself into game shape.
Carmelo Anthony summed things up succinctly (and with a laugh) when asked if Wallace was a viable option for the opener.
“I don’t think we have a choice right now,” he said.