Without Amar'e Stoudemire, Rasheed Wallace steps up in first scrimmage
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- In the latest chapter in the recurring saga "Life Without Amar'e,'' the Knicks ran a full scrimmage Saturday-- for the first time since finishing the preseason schedule -- with Amar'e Stoudemire nowhere in sight.
Coach Mike Woodson said the timetable for Stoudemire, who has a ruptured cyst behind his left knee, hasn't changed. "No. It was told to me two weeks, two to three weeks," he said. "Again, I don't know at this point. We've just got to take it a day at a time and see where he is with his therapy work."
Stoudemire wasn't available for interviews, but Happy Walters, his agent, tweeted in response to inquiries: "Stat will be fine. He's working with team trainers, will be back ASAP."
Woodson declined to discuss a published report attributed to an unnamed source close to Stoudemire that he could be out longer and was seeking a second opinion. "I'm not going to comment on that. I don't know a whole lot about it," he said. "I got wind of it this morning. I've got to talk to our medical staff to see what's going on, but I can't comment."
With the season tipoff Thursday night against the Nets at the Barclays Center, the Knicks will need others to respond, including Rasheed Wallace, coming back after two years of retirement, and rookie forward Chris Copeland, 28, who averaged 15.5 points per game in the preseason and made the cut as the final roster was announced.
Woodson and Carmelo Anthony saw positives in Wallace's scrimmage debut Saturday. "I was just trying to look at different combinations with him in," Woodson said. "His conditioning was better than I thought . . . He got up and down the floor, made some shots, and from a defensive standpoint, it was great because he communicates. That can become contagious if guys listen and try to learn from it. But he was pretty good today. Tomorrow's going to be interesting to see how he feels. That's going to be a key."
Anthony said Wallace "surprised a lot of people as far as his conditioning. He came out actually better than what everybody probably thought."
Asked if Wallace can be ready to contribute in the opener, Anthony said with a laugh: "I don't think we have a choice right now. I think that's his mind-set."
Said Woodson: "Amare's a big piece of the puzzle, make no mistake about that. He brings a number of things to our ballclub. We're going to miss him, but until he gets back, it gives other guys an opportunity to step up. That's what I'm going to be pushing guys to do."
Wallace and Copeland could be parts of the solution, because replacing Stoudemire's offense should be spread around, Anthony said.
"I don't think we can just rely on myself and J.R. Smith to do all the scoring,'' he said. "The way we're starting to play, it's starting to come from everywhere."