GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- In another body blow to what the Knicks hoped would be a fast start, forward Amar'e Stoudemire will have surgery on his ailing left knee and will miss six to eight weeks of the season.
Stoudemire, who originally was expected to miss two to three weeks, will undergo left-knee debridement, a procedure to remove unhealthy tissue, the team said.
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Stoudemire, who ruptured a popliteal cyst behind his left knee against Toronto in his preseason debut on Oct. 19, ended up missing most of camp with an ankle injury and his ailing knee, which started as a bone bruise.
"It's shocking," said Carmelo Anthony after Tuesday night's practice. "First it was two to three [weeks] and we were looking forward to having him back early. It's more severe than what we thought . . . It's disappointing, we definitely thought this was going to be the season we were going to play together the full season. This knee thing came out of nowhere. He's kind of been catching bad breaks when it comes to injury."
The Knicks doctors will perform the surgery, but the team did not announce when it would occur.
The initial time frame would have kept him out roughly five games. Now the best-case scenario is that the 29-year-old forward will return in late December. "We'll be here when he gets back," coach Mike Woodson said. "We've just got to hold the fort down until he's able to get back in the uniform and on the floor . . . Injuries do happen, I'm not here to sit and complain. We're going to need him."
Stoudemire missed 18 regular-season games last season because of ankle and back injuries and mourning the death of his brother. With him sidelined again, Anthony and Kurt Thomas are expected to get most of the minutes at power forward. Rasheed Wallace also will see time there and rookie Chris Copeland could play some.
The news came as the Knicks prepared to open the season in Brooklyn on Thursday.
Woodson was reluctant to name his starters, but said Wallace would be in the mix. "I don't know which way I'll go on Thursday," he said. "A lot of times I'm going to base it on personnel, to see if we can get an even matchup, at least at the start. Rasheed [Wallace] will play; how many minutes, I don't know, we'll get the game rolling and see what kind of flow we have."
Tyson Chandler (bruised knee) attended meetings and ran some full and half-court drills alone, and is targeting Thursday to play. "I definitely do [feel on track]," he said. "It was the first time putting weight on it; had no pain, I'm just getting used to this brace. Other than that, it felt pretty good."
Said Woodson: "I think he's going to be fine."
Notes & quotes: Marcus Camby (calf) didn't make it to practice because of utilities problems in his neighborhood, Woodson said.