Stoudemire clarifies incident, says 'great chance' he'll play Sunday

Amar'e Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks

Amar'e Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks adjusts his goggles during the second half against the Washington Wizards. (Jan. 6, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Wearing a Nike shirt that read "Marked Man" and a bulky bandage covering his left hand, Amar'e Stoudemire tried clearing up what happened in the hallway on the way to the Knicks' locker room Monday in Miami.

Stoudemire said he felt "sad" and "bad for my teammates" that he can't play in Game 3 Thursday night against the Heat. But he didn't apologize to them or Knicks fans for jeopardizing his availability for the rest of the first-round playoff series with his show of frustration.

Stoudemire explained how he sliced open the side of his hand when he hit a glass-encased fire extinguisher after the 104-94 loss in Game 2. He said it had nothing to do with him taking only 16 shots the first two games, and didn't rule out a return in Game 4 on Sunday.

"I just walked by and hit the fire extinguisher," said Stoudemire, is averaging 13.5 points per game in the series. "The door is made of 85 percent metal and 2 percent glass, just a little strip of glass. I didn't try to hit the glass at all. I just walked by, swung my hand at the wall, hit the fire extinguisher and cut my hand.

"I was more frustrated by the fact that we were down 0-2. It wasn't as if I was really trying to take out the fire extinguisher door. I wanted to make some noise and let out some frustration. Unfortunately I cut my hand by accident. I'll be back soon."

The Knicks list Stoudemire as doubtful for Game 4 but he said there's "a great chance" he'll play Sunday. Stoudemire, who had a red therapy squeeze ball in his left hand, also said he would play after injuring his back March 24 and missed 13 straight games.

Stoudemire had surgery on his hand Tuesday. He did not reveal what the procedure was or how many stitches he received. The Knicks said Stoudemire will be reassessed in the coming days.

"I think there's a great chance I'll play Sunday, not totally sure yet," Stoudemire said. "It's not like I had a closed fist and just punched the glass or nothing like that.

"I didn't even realize I was cut at all until Josh Harrellson told me I was cut and I saw the cut. Unfortunately after the game when it's very passionate things happen. You don't expect to injure yourself or anything like that."

His teammates were in the gym preparing for Game 3 while Stoudemire addressed the media. He said he already spoke to them and they understood it was unintentional. Several players who were asked didn't say Stoudemire apologized.

"He feels bad about what happened," Carmelo Anthony said. "He understands what was at stake, the situation. The only thing I care about is him being healthy."

Coach Mike Woodson said Stoudemire was "apologetic," and the Knicks had to move on and focus on trying to get back in the series against Miami and winning their first playoff game since 2001. A loss Thursday night and the Knicks will set an NBA record with 13 consecutive postseason defeats. They currently are tied with the Memphis Grizzlies.

"I know that's dangling out there," Woodson said. "But I'm not even thinking about that. I'm thinking about Game 3, trying to get a game under our belt and see if we can force the action."

Although the Knicks went 14-5 without Stoudemire this season, they can't afford losing any more players.

Rookie guard Iman Shumpert had surgery Wednesday to repair a torn left ACL and lateral meniscus that he suffered in Game 1.

Stoudemire is a co-captain along with Anthony and has been criticized for not being a leader in this important time.

"I think the fans have a wrong perception of what actually happened," he said. "I can understand their frustrations. I'm frustrated myself as well for not being available for Game 3.

"Not trying to make light of the situation but it happens all the time. Some players kick over ice coolers, some players tip over a table, some players even hit a chair. My thing was to hit the wall, caught the fire extinguisher, sliced my hand. Bad timing, knowing it's the playoffs and how important it is for us to try and win every game. But I'll be back soon."

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