Amar'e Stoudemire hopes to be ready if Knicks advance

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) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

Amar'e Stoudemire could be back for the second round of the playoffs.

"If everything goes great then I'm willing to play," Stoudemire said before last night's Game 2 against the Celtics when asked if he might be recovered enough from knee surgery to play if the Knicks advance. "Sooner than later, if everything continues to improve."

Stoudemire had a debridement procedure to remove tissue from his right knee on March 11. At the time, the Knicks said he would be out six weeks. He had the same operation on his left knee in late October and returned on New Year's Day. In 29 games between the two surgeries, he averaged 14.2 points.

He said his rehabilitation is going well and he's hoping to be able to start running at full speed in practice by the end of this week. Coach Mike Woodson has said that when Stoudemire returns he would return to the rotation. The Knicks could use a post presence if they go deeper, but Stoudemire also could hurt their spacing on the floor.

In the meantime, he's the Knicks' biggest cheerleader, hoping that his team will keep playing long enough for him to join them in the postseason.

"The blessing is we have a great team," Stoudemire said. "If they continue to win, it gives me more time to heal up 100 percent."

Prigioni ups IQ ante

Celtics coach Doc Rivers wasn't necessarily happy to see Pablo Prigioni return to the Knicks' lineup after he missed Game 1 with a sprained right ankle.

"He's brilliant," Rivers said. "He's another Jason Kidd-ish type guy. Gives them another smart player on the floor and another guy who can create plays, makes them really good. It's no coincidence that when he's been in the lineup they've played better because they have a lot of IQ on the floor at the same time."

Ring's the thing

Onetime Knicks coach and executive turned NBA TV analyst Isiah Thomas picked Woodson as his coach of the year. Woodson said Thomas is his friend and he appreciated his support, but the only thing he wants to win is a ring. "I'm not in this for Coach of the Year," Woodson said. "I'm in it to try and see if we can get this team to the championship round and try and win a title. If it happens, it happens. I'm not sitting here holding my breath about a Coach of the Year award."

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