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Amar'e status for Game 3: 'I'm not sure'

Amar'e Stoudemire showing the pain in his face

Amar'e Stoudemire showing the pain in his face while sitting on the bench resting his back. (April 19, 2011) Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

BOSTON -- Amar'e Stoudemire knew something wasn't right, explaining to his fellow All-Star teammate that he wasn't feeling all that hot.

"He came to me and said, 'My back is messed up,' " Carmelo Anthony said. "I was like, 'Just ride it out with me and just fight it out with me.' "

However, it wasn't much longer until Anthony figured out that Stoudemire's night probably was going to be a short one, all because of some nagging back spasms.

"I came down on a pick-and-roll one time, and I got in the paint and I swung it to him," Anthony said. "And I just seen him grab his back. That was a play that was like, 'Man, here goes another one of our guys [going down].' "

Stoudemire was relegated to spectator status last night for the better part of the Knicks' 96-93 loss to the Celtics at TD Garden in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference first-round series. He apparently injured himself in pregame warmups when he touched the backboard glass with his left hand while dunking with his right.

It's an injury he said he's never had before, and one that has his status up in the air for Game 3 Friday at Madison Square Garden.

"I'm not sure," Stoudemire said. "We'll see how it goes tomorrow and the next day. I hope I'll be ready to go by Friday."

Stoudemire said he could hardly move as he tried to play through it. So with 3:22 left in the second quarter, Mike D'Antoni had seen enough, noticing his $100-million power forward wasn't moving fluidly. He called for someone to intentionally foul Rajon Rondo just so he could pull out Stoudemire.

"I just couldn't get loose," Stoudemire said. "I tried to play on it and push through it, but . . . then I felt that sharp pain."

Initially, the word was Stoudemire was going to give it a go after halftime. He never came back on the bench though, and was forced to watch the game in the locker room on television.

"I was tying to get ready for it and come out there in the second half for the third quarter," Stoudemire said. "But I just couldn't get the back to release. So it took a while for me to get comfortable and I'm still somewhat in pain now. But hopefully, the next few days, it will release."

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