Knicks don't want to rush Tyson Chandler back before he's ready

Tyson Chandler dunks the ball in the first

Tyson Chandler dunks the ball in the first half of a game against the Detroit Pistons. (Feb. 4, 2013) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

The Knicks were without Tyson Chandler Friday night for the ninth straight game, and coach Mike Woodson said he doesn't know when he'll get his starting center back from his nagging neck injury.

"There's always concern," Woodson said. "But [the sense in the locker room is that] he's going to be fine. We just need to get him back out on the court. When that's going to be, I don't know. We're just being cautious of his injury."

Chandler has been dealing with a bulging disc in his neck that he believes he suffered March 13 in Denver, the same game in which he hurt his knee, which is fine now. Surprisingly, the Knicks haven't missed Chandler's presence in the middle all that much, something Woodson attributes to the play of Kenyon Martin.

The string of wins and Martin's uplifting play have helped Chandler avoid feeling the need to rush back. With the playoffs looming, his teammates have stressed the importance of rest.

"We're just making sure he's going to be fine and we're not going to . . . have him come out too early and hurt his neck and he's gone for the playoffs," Raymond Felton said. "If he needs to sit out for the rest of the year, we're fine with that. He's got to make sure he's OK.''

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