Just when the Knicks appeared to be in position to make a serious run at Philadelphia and Boston for first place in the Atlantic Division, they instead find themselves anxiously awaiting news from Miami.
Amar'e Stoudemire, out indefinitely with a bulging disc in his back, is in the Sunshine State getting a second opinion on the injury, which threatens to put a damper on the Knicks' 7-1 run back into Eastern Conference contention since Mike Woodson replaced Mike D'Antoni on the bench.
Though rest and/or rehabilitation has been the initial recommendation for Stoudemire's recovery, season-ending back surgery has not yet been ruled out, making his visit to South Beach of chief importance to the Knicks' playoff hopes.
Making matters significantly worse, both Jeremy Lin (knee) and Carmelo Anthony (groin) are listed as questionable for Wednesday night's game against visiting Orlando.
Lin sat out while Anthony scored 28 points in Monday's 89-80 win over the Bucks, moving the Knicks 2 1/2 games in front of Milwaukee for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East with 16 contests remaining in this lockout-shortened campaign.
The Knicks are only 2 1/2 games behind Boston and Philly in the Atlantic.