Nate Robinson was removed from the Knicks starting lineup for Tuesday's game against the Kings. Will he remove himself from the Slam Dunk contest this weekend in Dallas?

 

The 5-9 guard, who could become the NBA’s first three-time dunk champion, sat out Monday’s practice with a strained left groin, which had been nagging him in recent weeks. Mike D’Antoni said Robinson is expected to be available for Tuesday's game, which is the last for the Knicks before the all-star break and would not tell him not to compete in the dunk contest on All-Star Saturday.

 

 “That’s him,” D’Antoni said. “He has to tell me how he feels. If it bothers him, the best thing to do is to rest. But if he’s OK to compete, it’s a fun weekend, the NBA has asked him to do it, he’s the defending [champion], so I can understand why he wants to. But he has to know his body and know what’s best for him.”

 

 One of Robinson’s closest friends, Nets rookie Terrence Williams, wrote on his Twitter account on Sunday that he expected to find out yesterday “if I’m in the dunk contest.” Robinson has promoted Williams as a terrific dunker who deserved to be in the contest.

One possibility is that Williams could be a substitute for an injured contestant, such as Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace, who will also be in Sunday’s all-star game. Wallace is dealing with with a hamstring injury that caused him to miss a game last week.

Robinson accepted the league's invitation to come back for a fourth appearance in the dunk contest, but sounded like the thrill is gone.

"If I don't win it, it would be good because I don't want to go back anymore," he said on Jan. 18.

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I have heard that Robinson planned to involve Williams in his dunk plans. But if the groin is enough of an issue, Robinson may have good reason to tell the NBA he can't make it to Dallas and, instead, give his Seattle buddy T-Will an opportunity to show his stuff.