Tyson Chandler says he'll play in Knicks' opener; Amar'e Stoudemire's status unclear

Brook Lopez shoots against Tyson Chandler during a

Brook Lopez shoots against Tyson Chandler during a preseason game. (Oct. 24, 2012) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Tyson Chandler walked into the gym without crutches and said he "absolutely" will play in the Knicks' opener on Thursday.

Chandler endured a sleepless night Wednesday, fearing what the MRI of his left knee might show. When the results revealed a bone bruise and no structural damage, Chandler couldn't have been more relieved. The same can be said for the Knicks.

They're already thin up front and would have trouble withstanding a serious injury to Chandler, who hurt his knee when he collided with Nets forward Gerald Wallace in Wednesday's preseason finale.

"I never had anything like that before, didn't know what to expect, didn't know what it felt like," Chandler said. "It was just a weird, awkward feeling. The best thing I could have heard was everything was intact and looking strong."

That was considered good news, but the latest on Amar'e Stoudemire's status is cloudy and unclear.

According to a report, Stoudemire will have a second opinion on his troublesome left knee. The report said Stoudemire could miss up to a month of the season with the ruptured popliteal cyst in his knee.

On Sunday, the Knicks said he would be out two to three weeks. They haven't changed that prognosis or shed any additional light on his condition and wouldn't comment on the report.

Stoudemire hasn't commented since playing in his only preseason game Oct. 19. Calls to his agent, Happy Walters, weren't immediately returned.

After Friday's practice, coach Mike Woodson was asked if he expects to have Stoudemire and Marcus Camby on opening night. Camby originally was supposed to miss seven to 10 days with a strained left calf, but he's been out three weeks. Woodson didn't sound optimistic about either playing the Nets next week.

"Probably not," Woodson said. "Eventually those guys will be back. When they're coming back, I don't know."

Amid this uncertainty, the Knicks are expected to start Kurt Thomas at power forward and bring Rasheed Wallace and Chris Copeland off the bench. The Knicks also could use Carmelo Anthony at power forward.

Chandler hopes to return to practice Monday. He was happy to rid himself of the crutches that he said did more harm than good.

"They gave me a little back spasms," Chandler said. "Once I came in [Friday], no swelling or anything like that, and my back spasming, I was like, 'Look, I can't be missing games because of the spasms from these crutches if my knee is feeling good.' So I threw them to the side."

Notes:J.R. Smith (sore Achilles) practiced after missing the last five preseason games. His younger brother, Chris Smith, was waived after having surgery to repair his left patella tendon.

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