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Amar'e Stoudemire works to be back in time for season opener

Amar'e Stoudemire warms up before a game against

Amar'e Stoudemire warms up before a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden. (Dec. 13, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

GREENBURGH, N.Y. - As Amar'e Stoudemire shot on the far end of the court Tuesday, Carmelo Anthony said it's "sad" to see his teammate continually fight back from injuries. Anthony is at the top of his game, but he knows he may never play with Stoudemire at an All-Star level again.

"Yeah, I think about it," Anthony said. "I think about it sometimes. He was one of the reasons why I wanted to come to New York. So for me not to have that chance, the opportunity to get a full season in and get a rhythm going with him, it's not something I thought would happen."

Stoudemire said "it's a possibility" he could play in the Knicks' regular-season opener Oct. 30. The six-time All-Star also remains confident he can return to his old form, but it's another long road ahead following another knee surgery.

Stoudemire and the Knicks haven't divulged what the operation was. He said it was in the summer and "very, very minor." But Stoudemire also had a debridement on both knees last season, limiting him to 29 games.

That makes it hard to know when Stoudemire will be back, how compromised he will be and whether he will be effective. But all the surgeries didn't affect his work ethic or self-confidence.

"I do envision myself getting healthy and being able to dominate as I once did before," Stoudemire said after a lengthy workout. "I can't control injuries. All I can do is work extremely hard and do all I can do to prevent them and hopefully, this time will be the last time."

Stoudemire did some light running, basketball drills and worked on his "explosiveness" Tuesday. He called it "the hardest day by far," since his operation. Stoudemire hasn't had any setbacks and he hopes to be running full speed in about a week.

The Knicks, who open the preseason Wednesday night against the Celtics in Providence, are keeping Stoudemire back for this three-game trip so he can continue working out here.

Although Mike Woodson and Stoudemire said it's possible he could play in one of the last preseason games, it's hard to see that happening.

Woodson said the Knicks aren't going to push Stoudemire. They're concentrating on getting the strength back in his knee and doing everything so he can help them later in the season -- namely the playoffs.

"I'd rather see him get back all the way right," Anthony said. "I know it can be a lot, take a toll on him, mentally and emotionally. But for me as a friend, it's hard for me to sit back and act like it doesn't bother me because I know how hard of a worker he is. I know the time that he puts in the gym to train and rehab and to see him go forward and then take some steps back every time, it's just sad."

The Knicks hope to get something out of Stoudemire. He could help them win games if he's healthy and perhaps raise his trade value heading into the offseason before the last year of his deal.

Stoudemire said his focus is on becoming the player he was, but also prolonging his career.

"Both are very important," he said. "The goal is to be very efficient as I always have been in my career. Whether I'm playing 20, 25 minutes a night, I look forward to being a high-caliber player and be very efficient and bring a lot to the table."

Anthony hopes so.

"We need him," Anthony said. "He's a big key to this team's success."

Notes & quotes: Asked about the loss in the conference semifinals to Indiana, Anthony said, "I'm not over it. I might act like it's over but I'm not over it, not at all . . . I know what happened last year and I won't forget that." . . . Woodson said "it's a possibility" that J.R. Smith (left knee surgery) could play in the preseason.

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