Word that Amar’e Stoudemire would require season ending knee surgery has to shake up New York Knicks fans. We have Carmelo Anthony out with a sore knee (missed last three games), and now this news is a serious blow to hopes for taking the Atlantic Division title; furthermore, it makes the playoff picture cloudy indeed.
Head coach Mike Woodson called it “a major loss,” but this is an understatement to be sure. The team is hurting now and has played some games as if they are sleepwalking. Add to that Anthony being out this past week, which put the heat on Stoudemire to play more than his restricted 30 minutes a game, which may have led to this new injury.
We fans have to look at the team as now seriously depleted. Though the Knicks (38-22) say Anthony is “day-to-day” in regards to his injury, they have also lost reserve forward Rasheed Wallace for the season to foot surgery. Will Marcus Camby and recently acquired Kenyon Martin be able to fill the void? This is a question that we wish we never had to be ask.
Amar’e’s ten-year career has taken a toll on his knees, which he has had serious problems with before. Watching the 31-year-old play sometimes produces scary moments, as he seems increasingly fragile even with the 30 minute restriction placed on him. Perhaps we must face reality that Stoudemire may never be the player he used to be, but having him in the lineup was always seen as more of a glass half filled proposition to me.
Of course, there are those critics who have said that the Anthony-Stoudemire combination has never worked. While that seemed especially true under former coach Mike D’Antoni, current coach Woodson seemed to get the players to work together for the good of the team, although there is no denying that two incredibly large egos are hard to keep on one bench.
We will have to see if Anthony can get back soon, but that Atlantic Division title may become more elusive as the season grinds to an end with the team playing shorthanded. We fans also have to realize that the Indiana Pacers (at 39-23 currently tied with the Knicks for second in the Eastern Conference) aren’t going away, so chances of finishing third or lower could become a distinct possibility.
For now we Knicks fans are hurting almost as much as our team is this morning. We have been down this road too many times before, and we know sometimes we reach a dead end. We can only hope that will not be the case this season, one that for a time seemed so full of hope but now is looking increasingly more dismal.
Photo credit: Stoudemire – AP; Anthony – NBA.com