Mike Woodson not saying if Amar'e Stoudemire will start this season

Amar'e Stoudemire talks with Mike Woodson moments before

Amar'e Stoudemire talks with Mike Woodson moments before entering a game against the Portland Trail Blazers. (Jan. 1, 2013) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

Now that the Knicks' $100- million man is back, Mike Woodson was asked the $100- million question that he said he would address at the appropriate time.

But Woodson sidestepped whether Amar'e Stoudemire would be a reserve for the rest of the season or if he would return to the starting lineup at some point.

"I'm not going to discuss that," Woodson said Tuesday night. "First things first, we've got to get him back on the floor and get him acclimated to what we're doing and then we'll go from there."

Stoudemire came off the bench in his season debut and scored six points in the Knicks' 105-100 loss to Portland. He had started the previous 417 games he played. The last time he came off the bench was Nov. 4, 2006 with the Suns.

But Stoudemire was expected to be a sub Tuesday night. He hadn't played since an Oct. 19 preseason game. He ruptured a cyst in his left knee and had a debridement on Halloween. He was cleared for contact only two weeks ago and will be on a minutes' restriction for the time being.

The Knicks went 21-9 without Stoudemire. For that reason and how well Carmelo Anthony has played at power forward, the speculation has been that Woodson won't make a major change to the starting lineup.

But if Stoudemire regains his explosiveness and the Knicks need him to play power forward based on matchups, Woodson could put him in the starting lineup. Kurt Thomas started at power forward in the first half Tuesday night and Marcus Camby the second half.

"We'll figure that out as we go along," Woodson said.

Stoudemire could help by playing backup center or against other team's second units. He said he would do whatever is asked of him and he doesn't want to disrupt what the Knicks have built.

"I don't want to interrupt nothing at all; those guys have been playing well all season," Stoudemire said. "So however Coach feels my role fits, that's what I'm eager to play. If he needs me, I'm there. If not, I think those guys are playing well, then we'll take that, as well."

Stoudemire said he's focused on getting stronger and staying on the court for the rest of the season.

"The coaching staff and the training staff have a plan for me to make sure that I'm a hundred percent and ready to go, especially going into the latter half of the season," he said. "So that's the bigger picture."

Notes & quotes: Rasheed Wallace missed his ninth consecutive game because of an acute stress reaction in his left foot. "He's still going through treatment," Woodson said. "We're [going] slowly and really keeping our eyes on that in terms of not really pushing him back too soon. With Camby being back, that helps the cause a little bit.''

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