BOSTON - Amar'e Stoudemire has raised his game recently and the Knicks have benefited, but it might have been putting too much pressure on his surgically repaired knees.
Stoudemire, who started the previous five games and helped the Knicks put together the four-game winning streak they took into last night's game, didn't make the trip to Boston.
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The Knicks officially labeled it a recovery day for Stoudemire. But there could be reason for concern since the Knicks didn't play Tuesday and have two days off before their next game.
Mike Woodson said he expects Stoudemire to return for Saturday's noon game against Milwaukee, but that he told him he needed off Wednesday night.
"When he says he needs a day to rest, we'll give it to him," Woodson said. "In this stretch he'll have a couple more days to get ready for Saturday. That's a good thing."
Stoudemire, who missed a game two weeks ago with soreness in his left knee, is averaging 18 points and 6.6 rebounds over 28 minutes in the past five games.
"We've just got to be cautious and make this a recovery day and get him ready for Saturday," Woodson said.
The Knicks also were without Tyson Chandler for the second straight game as he tends to a personal matter. Woodson hopes Chandler will be back Saturday.
Fourth-year center Cole Aldrich started for the first time in his career.
Mike: Respect for Phil
Woodson continues to be asked about Phil Jackson joining the Knicks' basketball department, but the coach said his only concern is trying to get the Knicks into the playoffs.
"I know there's speculation about Phil coming," Woodson said. "I've said all along I think Phil is a great basketball person. He's done a lot of wonderful things in our league and I've got a great deal of respect for Phil. But my focus is right now on this team."
Still no timetable
The Knicks remain without Kenyon Martin and Andrea Bargnani, and it's unclear if they will return this season.
Martin (left ankle) is out of a walking boot but still hasn't done any basketball activities. Bargnani, who tore a ligament in his left elbow in January, said he still feels soreness and isn't sure if he will be back this season.