Mike Woodson said if J.R. Smith isn’t with the program he should get used to sitting at the end of the Knicks bench.
“Put it this way, he’s going to have to be with it if he’s going to want to be a part of it,” Woodson said after Thursday morning’s shootaround. “As a coach, it’s my job to make sure that that happens.
"He’ll be back in uniform tonight. We expect him to come in and play and play at a high level. That’s what I expect from a coaching standpoint, nothing else. Just concentrate on playing basketball.”
Smith was in uniform Tuesday in Charlotte but was benched for the second time in four games.
Reportedly, Smith vented his frustration for only playing 45 seconds of the Knicks' overtime period Monday against Phoenix and was late for a team meeting on Tuesday. Smith wasn’t available to the media at the morning shootaround.
Knicks leaders Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler have said they need Smith and hope he’s playing Thursday night when they face the Pacers, owners of an NBA-best 30-7 mark.
Woodson laughed when he was asked whether he needs Smith on Thursday night.
“I need J.R. every game,” Woodson said. “Every game I need J.R. And J.R. will be back in uniform today and we’ll go from there.”