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Andrea Bargnani's focus is on returning to Knicks lineup

Knicks' Andrea Bargnani, right, shoots on Toronto Raptors'

Knicks' Andrea Bargnani, right, shoots on Toronto Raptors' Amir Johnson during the first half. (Dec. 28, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

TORONTO - Andrea Bargnani got a little testy when asked if he wants to remain in the NBA after his contract is up after this season. There has been speculation that the Italian forward, who has had a disappointing career after being drafted first overall in 2006, would like to return to Europe.

"You asking me if I still want to play in the NBA? Why wouldn't I?" Bargnani said Sunday. "I love playing in the NBA. I'm in the NBA. Right now, all my focus is I got to get back."

Bargnani hasn't played this season because of right hamstring and calf strains but appears to be closer to practicing. He has been doing more on the court, but the Knicks' medical staff hasn't cleared him yet.

Amar'e stays home

Amar'e Stoudemire didn't travel to Toronto, missing his second straight game with what the Knicks called "a recovery day." The Knicks could have used their second-leading scorer and best big man, especially after Samuel Dalembert got ejected in the third quarter for elbowing Jonas Valanciunas in the face.

Stoudemire, who has had multiple surgeries on both knees during his career, said Thursday that he wanted to play in one of the weekend games. Derek Fisher said this allows him to rest up for the next stretch of games.

"Without another game until Christmas," Fisher said, "and the pace we've been playing at and the minutes that he's gotten up to, we just feel like in order to come and prepare ourselves for the next 25 games or so, it was smart to get this one in."

Fisher said he's not sure if Stoudemire will play Thursday against the Wizards.

J.R. still sidelined

Fisher said J.R. Smith "may not have been day-to-day," as the Knicks listed him after an MRI revealed a partial tear of his left plantar fascia last weekend. Smith, who didn't travel, missed his seventh straight game.

"I think it's day-to-day," Fisher said. "From the beginning, it may not have been day-to-day. It was probably going to be a few weeks or so. I think he's in some ways feeling better just from not being on it, but just not enough to get out there and compete at the level he's capable of.''

Fields has concussion

Former Knick Landry Fields was unavailable because he didn't pass a test for a concussion he sustained Friday.

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