Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan met with the Knicks before Thursday's practice and informed players and staff that no coaching changes or trades are on the horizon, according to an report.

Neither coach Mike Woodson nor the players would confirm that a meeting took place, but J.R. Smith expressed a sense of relief Friday before the Knicks' home loss to Toronto.

"It does feel good for us to know that he's going to be here,'' Smith said of Woodson.

The Knicks (9-20) have been involved in trade talks in recent weeks, mainly for a point guard. After their 29-point loss to Oklahoma City, however, the players reportedly were told that it is up to them to dig themselves out of the hole.

"Having that confidence in us is great,'' Amar'e Stoudemire said. "Knowing that we can somewhat get out of this rut I think is very, very important for us. We take that as motivation and work on the things we need to work on to get better as individuals and as a team. So hopefully that helps us.''

Woodson said he believes the Knicks will be good if they ever get healthy.

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"We've had a lot of injuries,'' he said. "I'm talking about key guys that have been out. I'm just anxious, my staff and I, to see where we are. I know if we do have a full deck, we got a chance to win basketball games. I truly believe that.''

Notes & quotes: Woodson has heard about Beno Udrih's frustration with being called out in the media recently, but he hasn't spoken to him about it, saying, "I never even addressed it because it wasn't that important as far as I was concerned.'' . . . Metta World Peace, who is scheduled to have platelet-rich plasma therapy on his left knee Jan. 6, made himself available Friday night because the Knicks were shorthanded. He did not score in 5:23.

The Dolan family owns

controlling interests in the

Knicks, Madison Square

Garden and Cablevision.

Cablevision owns Newsday.