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Billups 'definitely' back by Sunday?

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, left, and Chauncey

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, left, and Chauncey Billups watch the game action from the bench during the first half of NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. (March 4, 2011) Credit: AP

 MEMPHIS -- The Knicks will be without Chauncey Billups for tonight's game here against the Grizzlies, to make it five straight games the Knicks will have to play without the veteran point guard. Tomorrow's game in Dallas is also uncertain, but Mike D'Antoni all but guaranteed Billups will be back for Sunday's game against the Indiana Pacers at the Garden.

"We could've pushed him, but we'll have these two days and we'll see tomorrow, I don't know if he'll play or not," D'Antoni said at this morning's shoot-around. "Then we'll have Sunday and Sunday he's definitely going to play."

If so, that's news to Billups.

"I'm not going to definitely say anything," he said. "When I'm able to play, I will play."

The deep thigh bruise in his left quad that he's dealing with is, as he put it, as deep as you can get. But an added concern has been a minor impact it had on his left knee, which "kind of shifted" from the impact with Dwight Howard's knee on the fateful play. It has resulted in some swelling in the back of Billups' kneecap.

Billups said he's getting treatment on the knee as well as the thigh but seemed to downplay it as an serious issue.

Billups did say that when he does come back, he knows he won't be 100 percent. It's only been a week, but he's itching to get back into the game.

"I don't like taking extra time," he said. "If I can play, I'm going to play. I know that when I do come back, I'm not going to be 100 percent and I'm happy with that, fine with that. I just want to be able to come back and just be effective, help the team and work myself back to being 100. I just want to be good enough to just get back out there."

Toney Douglas has held his own in the previous four games and tonight he has a good matchup with the improving Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley. How he fares against Jason Kidd and the Mavs in a brutal back-to-back -- make that the entire team -- remains to be seen.

* * * 

* - D'Antoni did say that Ronny Turiaf and Bill Walker, who both have been dealing with sore knees over the last few games, will both be available for the game. It will be interesting to see how D'Antoni adjusts the rotation, especially with Walker when you consider that Roger Mason Jr. has played well in Walker's two-game absence.

* - For everyone on the Marc Gasol recruiting trip, he didn't use his chat with New York reporters as an opportunity to build his case for Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley to open up his wallet in the offseason to sign the pending restricted free agent. It worked for Rudy Gay, who was extremely candid with us last season and then saw the Grizz lock him up to a max offer on the first day of free agency. But Gasol seemed to shrug off the talk about possible interest from the Knicks. "I'm not worried about it, I'm just trying to enjoy my situation right now and make the playoffs," he said. "That's the only thing I really care about right now."

    Meanwhile, Zach Randolph was more than willing to go there: "It's a business," he said. "They ain't signed me yet so, we'll see."


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