Timetable for Amar'e Stoudemire's return adjusted

Amar'e Stoudemire looks on against the Denver Nuggets. Amar'e Stoudemire looks on against the Denver Nuggets. (Jan. 21, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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INDIANAPOLIS -- Amar'e Stoudemire shot free throws before Tuesday night's game but still is weeks away from playing.

The timetable for Stoudemire is not 2-4 weeks from the time he suffered the back injury, which was March 24. The Knicks said Tuesday night it's 2-4 weeks from the time Stoudemire had the epidural shot to alleviate the pressure from the bulging disc in his back.

That was last Thursday. So the earliest Stoudemire could return is April 13 against Washington, which doesn't seem likely at this point.

"It's still day-to-day," interim coach Mike Woodson said. "You're talking 2-4 weeks maybe, if that. I keep saying day-to-day in hopes that he might come back. After taking the shot, they're still saying 2-4 weeks. All I can do is wait.

"Two to four weeks can't come fast enough, put it that way."

Stoudemire shooting free throws and joining the Knicks on this trip could be signs his back is improving. The trip could have several benefits for Stoudemire. He's around the team, can get treatment and can spend a couple of days at home with his family in Orlando, where the Knicks play Thursday night.

Baron Davis joined the team when the Knicks went to Los Angeles on the first road trip of the season and he was about two months away from playing again with his back issues.

Stoudemire was in good spirits in the locker room Tuesday night. He chatted with the media but wouldn't talk about his health.

"I'm just in silent mode," Stoudemire said. "Focused."

Stoudemire, who wore a hoodie in tribute to Trayvon Martin, said he might talk and give an update Thursday. Stoudemire also tweeted more than usual, including praise of Kentucky coach John Calipari for an interview he did. Calipari is considered a candidate for Knicks coach if Woodson isn't retained.

Stoudemire has a relationship with Calipari, who recruited Stoudemire to go to Memphis in 2002. He verbally committed before deciding to go from high school to the NBA.

Now Woodson can't wait for Stoudemire to go from the trainer's room to the court but doesn't know when it will be.

"Man, I wish I could tell you," Woodson said. "I don't know at this point. He's just going through therapy and even with that being said, it's probably going to take time if he gets back on the floor. He's going to probably make sure he's ready, but at this point, he's not."

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