SALT LAKE CITY - Eddy Curry saw a few teammates stifle their laughter as he explained his latest injury. He couldn't help but chuckle, too.
"I swear," he insisted, "I'm not making this up."
But it does seem comical at this point. With nine games remaining after last night's 103-98 loss to the Jazz, Curry's season is officially over because of a torn myofascial band in his right calf.
An MRI taken last week revealed the cause of the pain that became the most recent of a litany of physical setbacks that have limited the once-promising 7-foot center to 10 games and 73 minutes in the last two seasons.
"It was freak, man," Curry said of the injury, which he started to feel just days before he was expected to return to the lineup March 10 against the Spurs. "Stuff that happens to me, I don't really understand."
That stuff includes a separate obscure injury to the left calf - torn plantaris muscle - that occurred on the first day of training camp. Then there was the surgery on his left knee Jan. 18, a month after the last game he appeared in this season.
To be fair to Curry, D'Antoni and the Knicks - who were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention Sunday - didn't put enough time into finding a way to use his low-post skills, but at the time, the desperate Knicks were climbing back from a 1-9 hole to start the season and there was no time for experimenting on the fly.
Despite the obvious issues on the court (not to mention that Curry wasn't in condition to play effective minutes), Curry felt D'Antoni gave up on him too quickly. That led to a prevailing belief from within the organization, as well as from observers outside the team, that Curry had lost all interest in playing for D'Antoni and the Knicks.
Curry said he will exercise the $11.2-million option in his contract for next season; the Knicks could try to use him as an expiring contract in a trade. Another possible avenue is for the sides to negotiate a buyout, but that number still would remain against the team's 2010-11 salary cap.
Curry's motivation to accept a buyout would be to go to another team that plays a more traditional half-court system that fits his skill set. One possibility: Curry is reunited with Larry Brown - who loves bigs who can score in the post - with the Charlotte Bobcats.
Curry, however, said he doesn't think his Knicks career is necessarily over. "No, not at all," he said. "I still have got to work hard this summer and prove myself next year."
Boozer thinks James stays
Utah's Carlos Boozer once left Cleveland to find a better opportunity, but he doesn't expect LeBron James to do the same. "His biggest thing is winning a ring, which is all our thing," Boozer said. "So I think his best chance to win a ring is probably right where he's at."
Boozer, like James, is one of the big names in the 2010 free- agency class, and though he sidestepped questions about his summer plans, he did go out of his way to praise the Knicks' coach.
"Having to spend time with him at the Olympics, his offensive mind-set is unbelievable,'' he said . . . "He has plans in the back of his head that he comes up with at a moment . . . D'Antoni's a great coach, man. I've got a lot of respect for him."