Amar'e Stoudemire almost cleared for contact

Amar'e Stoudemire looks on during a game against Amar'e Stoudemire looks on during a game against the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden. (March 3, 2013) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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Amar'e Stoudemire hasn't been cleared for contact practice yet, but Mike Woodson sounded as if it would happen in the coming days.

Stoudemire, who had surgery on his right knee on March 11, had an intense workout with running and cutting Tuesday. He has said he would be ready to play in the second round of the playoffs. Woodson said if Stoudemire can get through some contact work he could play.

"Provided he doesn't have any setbacks, he's looking pretty good," Woodson said before Game 5 Wednesday night against the Celtics. "Contact, that's what he needs more than anything. If we can do that and there's no setbacks then we'll evaluate it and see where he is and maybe he can play. We'll see."

Woodson said if the Knicks had closed out the Celtics Wednesday night, and didn't have a Game 6 in Boston Friday, he wouldn't necessarily have given them off until the next round starts. He probably will use guys who haven't played that much to scrimmage with Stoudemire.

"We've got to help Amar'e along a little bit, too," Woodson said. "We're going to have some guys that's ready to play, maybe some of the guys who haven't played a lot of minutes in this series. Maybe set them to play some where he can get some contact because he's going to need that before we make the decision to put him back in a uniform."

Offensive woes

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Raymond Felton scored 21 points and for the second straight game he was basically the only effective scorer for the Knicks.

"Offensively we were searching," Woodson said. "Our defense I thought was pretty solid. We still hold them to less than 95 points, I'm happy. But we've got to find some offense somewhere. We're really struggling to find points right now."

Novak's back goes out

Steve Novak only played three first-half minutes. He didn't return in the second half because of back spasms.

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