Amare Stoudemire not expected to play in first round

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This doesn’t really change anything for the Knicks — they have been without him for most of the season. But they could have used him.

Don’t expect to see Amare Stoudemire in the first round of the playoffs.

That word comes from Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who didn’t sound very optimistic, as reported by ESPNNewYork.com.

“I think he’s going to be out,” Woodson said Thursday. “That’s my gut.”

Stoudemire was on the floor during practice but hasn’t started running yet. The veteran power forward underwent surgery March 11 to clean up debris in his right knee.

My gut says if you haven’t started the running part of your rehab yet you are not going to be playing basketball in the next couple weeks

This is not some kind of big loss for the Knicks — they closed the season 17-6 and all of that was without Stoudemire in the lineup. That said they could use his size and depth along the front line against Boston, however.

The guy the Knicks really need to have playing at full speed along the front line for this series is center Tyson Chandler. They need his defense in the paint. And it sounds like he’ll be ready to go.

“It’s the best I’ve felt in a long time,” Chandler said. “It actually was a blessing in disguise that I was able to get that time off because now I’ll have fresh legs throughout the playoffs and I’m excited for this long run we’re about to endure.”