Raymond Felton made it clear he wants to play through the pain in his injured left hand. The fact that the next two games are at Charlotte and Miami probably will make Felton push the Knicks' medical staff even harder to let him.
Starting Wednesday, the Knicks play four games in five nights, so their doctors and trainers might be cautious. But the Knicks and Felton hope he won't have to sit after an MRI revealed a contusion and bone bruise and not a break from jamming his hand in Sunday's 106-99 win over the Suns.
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"Thanks to everyone for checking on me and yes I will be OK," Felton said on Twitter. "Just a bone bruise and I'm going to take it one day at a time."
This is a big week for Felton and the Knicks, and the start of an important three-week stretch.
Felton played at North Carolina and spent his first five years in the NBA in Charlotte, which explains why he is reluctant to miss Wednesday night's game. The next night, the East's top two teams, the 12-4 Knicks and 12-3 Heat, meet in Miami.
The Knicks want to go into that game with a 13-4 record and as many healthy bodies as possible. But the backcourt situation appears a little murky right now.
Felton is listed as day-to-day and so is Jason Kidd, who missed the last four games with lower-back spasms. Kidd worked out before Sunday's game and it's possible he could go through practice Tuesday. Mike Woodson sounded reluctant to bring Kidd back for both games of a back-to-back. "We may have to monitor his minutes big time until he's actually at full strength," Woodson said.
If Felton and Kidd can't play, 35-year-old rookie Pablo Prigioni would get his first NBA start against the Bobcats. Prigioni is a very smart and experienced point guard who knows how to run an offense and is a strong pick-and-roll player.
Regardless, the Knicks have shown they can win with key players out and are confident that will continue. They own the fifth-best record in the NBA despite playing without Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert.
After closing out the trip Saturday in Chicago, the Knicks play seven of their next eight games at home. The one road game is in Brooklyn. The Knicks are undefeated in their seven home games. "When we step on that floor, our fans expect us to win," Woodson said. "That's where you want to be when you talk about fielding a team. I feel good about the makeup of our ballclub and how they're playing."
Notes & quotes: Carmelo Anthony was named Eastern Conference player of the week after averaging 29.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in leading the Knicks to a 3-1 mark.