Stoudemire practices with Knicks but sits out scrimmages

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New York is going to great lengths to protect the knees of Amar’e Stoudemire.

He is in New York and working out at the team facility with his fellow teammates in advance of training camp opening next week — but when the scrimmages start he sits them out, reports Ian Begley at ESPNNewYork.com.

The reason is to protect those fragile knees, and Raymond Felton said he is good with it.

“We don’t want to risk [injury]. Not in practice. We’d rather have them for the 82 [games] that we have coming up,” Felton said at an Under Armor-sponsored event at Macy’s in Manhattan.

Coach Mike Woodson has already said Stoudemire will be on a minute limit during games, likely 20 per contest.

If in those limited minutes he can contribute as he did in the 29 games he played last season — 14.2 points on 57.7 percent shooting, plus five rebounds a game with a PER of 22.1 — he would be a huge boost off the bench for the Knicks. The Knicks had to lean heavily on J.R. Smith to provide scoring when the starters sat last season, Stoudemire could be another scoring threat.

But when they really need him healthy and contributing is the playoffs — the East is top-heavy this season and it will not be easy to get past the second round (or maybe even the first). The Knicks need to protect Stoudemire’s knees now and in the season to have him ready for when it matters.

Felton is right — what exactly is the point of Stoudemire playing in scrimmages now?