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Amar'e misses charity game, blames back issue

Amar'e Stoudemire said one positive result of the ongoing NBA lockout was that it afforded him the time for his pulled back muscle to heal properly. He declared himself 100 percent last month and looked healthy when he played in the South Florida All-Star Classic in Miami.

But then came word from Drew Gooden's charity game in the Bay Area on Sunday that Stoudemire pulled out of appearing in the game, according to game officials, because of a back injury. Stoudemire was on the list of participants who confirmed they would play, but he did not show up for the event.

Though a season doesn't appear to be on the horizon any time soon, a relapse of the back injury would be terrible news for the Knicks. If the NBA and its players can ever reach an agreement in time to save at least a partial season for 2011-12, there would be little time to get ready.

Happy Walters, Stoudemire's agent, on Monday said Stoudemire is not injured.

"He is fine," Walters said. "He's working out."

Walters wouldn't elaborate, but it seems likely that Amar'e decided to pull out of the game, which was held at the Cow Palace in Daly City, Calif., and the back injury was used as an excuse.

The event, which benefitted the Make-A-Wish foundation, did not draw many headline stars -- though rookie-to-be Ricky Rubio did make his U.S. debut -- and attracted an estimated crowd of about 2,000 people.

Stoudemire is not yet confirmed to play in the four-city barnstorming "Homecoming Tour," which has been organized by teammate Carmelo Anthony and other NBA stars.

New York Sports