New York Knicks' Amar'e Stoudemire dunks during their NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland

Amar’e Stoudemire to miss six weeks after MRI reveals need for knee surgery


Amar’e Stoudemire is expected to be out approximately six weeks due to a knee debridement procedure he will have this week, the Knicks announced on Saturday.

Stoudemire was initially listed as a game-time decision for Saturday’s game against the Jazz after reporting soreness in both knees, but an MRI later in the day revealed the need for surgery, reports Ian Begley of ESPN New York.

Stoudemire missed the first two months of the season with a similar procedure, and required eight weeks to recover. If he was able to get back within six weeks from this one, that would be just in time for the Knicks’ run into the postseason.

But obviously, that’s a best-case scenario.

Even if Stoudemire was back on the court exactly six weeks from now, he’d likely need a few games at minimum to get back into shape, and then a few more after that to get back to playing at the level he had been recently.

Stoudemire was under a 30-minute per game limit, and was right up against that number in New York’s last three games, playing 29, 31, and 32 minutes in a loss to Oklahoma City, and wins against Detroit and Cleveland.

In five games in March, Stoudemire has averaged 16.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, and a blocked shot per game, but had scored 22 points in two of his last three.

Stoudemire’s loss is big for the Knicks in terms of where they’ll land in the Eastern Conference standings at the end of the season. New York currently sits at third, a half game behind the Pacers for second, but just two and a half games ahead of Brooklyn who sits at four, with the next three teams not more than a game and a half beyond that.

Carmelo Anthony is also dealing with a knee injury, which will keep him sidelined for the third straight game on Saturday.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Don’t expect more wins in Toronto

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After winning the Atlantic Division then getting thumped in the playoff two years running, the powers that be in Toronto decided it was time for a change.

The added DeMarre Carroll and made shifts to make this a more defensive-minded team, all because of dreams of playoff success (which for the Raptors would be making the second round). What this changeover is not going to mean is an improvement off the 49 regular season wins the Raptors had last season — they sacrificed some scoring to get this defense, and there is a trade-off.

That said, I still expect the Raptors to win the Atlantic. Maybe they make the second round of the playoffs (way too early to make that call).

How many regular season wins they get — and if they win a postseason series — for me is going to come down to if Jonas Valanciunas takes a step forward. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will be strong, Carroll is an upgrade, but the big man in the middle will be the hinge for everything.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.