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Billups' knee another pain

New York Knicks' Chauncey Billups grabs his knee

New York Knicks' Chauncey Billups grabs his knee after a fall while driving against the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter of Boston's 87-85 win in Game 1. (April 17, 2011) Credit: AP

BOSTON -- The Knicks always felt Chauncey Billups was more than just a throw-in piece in the Carmelo Anthony trade. But is he damaged goods?

The veteran guard suffered yet another injury -- his third since the trade -- and this one, a strained left knee, forced him to miss the critical final minute of Sunday night's 87-85 first-round playoff loss to the Celtics in Game 1. It also might cost him Game 2.

"We'll just have to see," said Billups, who limped after the game and admitted, "I'm in a lot of pain right now."

Billups had issues with the knee dating to a March 1 game in Orlando, when he suffered a deep thigh bruise with some residual effects on the knee. He missed six games but returned to form, only to suffer a contusion in his right thigh. Then he aggravated the left knee problem in Tuesday's loss to the Bulls when he banged it late in the game. He wore a protective compression sleeve over the knee in practice in the two days leading up to Sunday night's game.

With just about a minute left and the score tied at 82, Billups felt the knee buckle on a drive. He hobbled to the bench with 50.7 seconds left and did not return.

"The doctor and everybody said it was just a strain on my knee, on the part where the muscle extends to my knee," he said. "Just a strain."

The Knicks will practice here Monday and Billups will be re-evaluated. "Hopefully,' he said, "I can get back as soon as possible."


Shaq back?

Doc Rivers said Shaquille O'Neal is day-to-day and that his calf strain will be re-evaluated before Monday's practice to determine his availability for Game 2. "It's going to be tough because it's one practice," Rivers said. "We'll see."


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