GREENBURGH, N.Y. - The message may not have been intentionally directed at Eddy Curry, but Amar'e Stoudemire's words were pointed when he was asked about the exhausting conditioning drills the Knicks have been going through in the first three days of training camp.
"The great thing about this is the fact that we came in so early this summer, to where this doesn't feel hard to us," said Stoudemire, who seems to love this kind of stuff. "If we didn't come in early, this would feel like one of the hardest training camps I've ever been a part of. But all the guys are in shape."
Apparently, not all the guys. Curry, who was the last player to arrive at MSG Training Center before camp opened, spent yesterday's morning session watching from the sideline. The team later announced that Curry underwent an MRI that revealed a strained right hamstring. The recovery time is four to six weeks, which means for the third straight year, Curry will not finish training camp.
"It's disappointing and I'm disappointed for Eddy," Knicks president Donnie Walsh said. "This really hurts him."
Curry is in the final year of his contract and will be a free agent at the end of the season. The injury-plagued 27-year-old will be hard pressed to find a team that will give him a guaranteed deal if he doesn't show he can stay healthy.
The Knicks, who already paid Curry half of his $11.3-million salary in July, as stipulated in his contract, are unlikely to enter into buyout discussions. He is still valuable as an expiring contract, especially in a potential trade for Carmelo Anthony, so the Knicks want to keep him on the roster even if he can't play.
He will not, however, join the team for the upcoming trip to Europe, where the Knicks will make stops in Milan and Paris to play exhibition games. Curry will remain in New York to get treatment. The team's other injured player, Kelenna Azubuike (knee), will travel with the team.
Curry, who did not speak to reporters Monday, was already in disfavor when he decided not to show up early to work out with his teammates. When he did arrive, he came in 20 pounds heavier than when he left. Curry said on Friday that he preferred to work out on his own with his trainer, Jon Porter, in Ocean City, N.J. Curry declared himself healthy and said he believed he could get through an entire season, which he hasn't been able to do since 2006-07.
Last year, Curry injured his calf muscle during the night session of the first day of camp. The year before that, he never made it to the gym on the first day because of a viral infection.
"You hate that he just can't get over the hump,"Mike D'Antoni said. "But, you know, four to six weeks and we'll re-evaluate him and try to get him ready."
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