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'Pretty optimistic' on Amar'e; 'less' on Billups

Amar'e Stoudemire working on his jump shot at

Amar'e Stoudemire working on his jump shot at the end of practice the day after Game 1 against the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden in Boston. (April 17, 2011) Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Mike D'Antoni said after today's practice at the MSG Training Center that he is "pretty optimistic" that Amar'e Stoudemire (back spasms) will be ready to play against the Celtics at Madison Square Garden in Game 3 of this first-round series.

As for Chauncey Billups (left knee tendon strain), however, D'Antoni said he is "a little bit less optimistic" though he indicated that Billups was "feeling better, much better . . . we'll see tomorrow."

Stoudemire was not at practice today. He was told to remain at his Manhattan condo, where a few members of the team's training staff went to continue treatment on the pulled muscle. 

"We didn't want him to ride two hours in a car here up and back," D'Antoni said.

Billups was at the facility, and while the team practiced on the court, he received treatment in the training room. Billups said he feels "all right, a little better. Feeling better every day. Just trying to get there."

When asked if he can play tomorrow night, Billups answered, "I don't know . . . I'm just trying to give myself the best possible chance I can to play at some point."

Billups yesterday had some blood drained from the knee and received a small cortisone shot to keep more blood from collecting in the area. He said he felt sore today from the shot.

Meanwhile, D'Antoni revealed that Ronny Turiaf was injured in the fourth quarter of Game 2 and, therefore, not available on that final play that involved Jared Jeffries losing the ball to Kevin Garnett. D'Antoni said Turiaf came out of the game and said his left  knee -- he has worn a heavy brace for most of this season -- wasn't feeling good, so D'Antoni never considered him for the final play. "In my mind," D'Antoni said, "he was done."

Turiaf practiced today and D'Antoni said he expects him to be available for Game 3.

 

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