MIAMI -- Baron Davis wasn't taking anything for granted, given all that has gone wrong for the Knicks. But he promised he will be ready for the Heat Monday night, with one caveat.
"If I wake up in the morning, I'm playing,'' he said after practice Sunday, referring to a balky back that limited him to 17 1/2 minutes Saturday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
The Knicks will take it, given their other problems. The most dramatic and deflating is the ACL tear suffered by rookie guard Iman Shumpert on Saturday, an injury that could sideline him into early 2012-13.
"Iman was an integral part to our team,'' Amar'e Stoudemire said.
Said coach Mike Woodson, "That's a big blow.''
Now he is gone, adding to problems in the backcourt that left Woodson at a loss as to what his starting lineup will look like for Game 2.
Davis' participation is essential. He scored 10 points in the first quarter Saturday but said some early physical play led to tightness in his back and sent him to the bench.
"I always feel like I carry a lot on my shoulders,'' he said. "I just want my back to be all right and I'll take it from there. I like this pressure. I like this atmosphere.''
Meanwhile, in the frontcourt, center Tyson Chandler's status remained up in the air because of an ongoing battle with flu symptoms. He played in Game 1 but was not himself, and Woodson hinted he will not have Chandler in uniform Monday night if he is in the same condition as Saturday. "He might not play,'' he said. "My decision is to probably go elsewhere.''
Chandler had no points and seven turnovers in 21 minutes in Game 1, and teammates uniformly said he did not look or play like himself. He skipped practice Sunday and remained at the team hotel.
"We just want him to rest up,'' Davis said. "We want to make this a long series and we know as the series extends, he'll get stronger and stronger.''
"It gets tougher and tougher if guys can't play or are banged up,'' Stoudemire said. "But you can't make any excuses. We have to come out and play regardless. It's the playoffs. We have to find a way to win.''