Raymond Felton expected to return Saturday night

Raymond Felton goes to the hoop against the

Raymond Felton goes to the hoop against the Cleveland Cavaliers' Anderson Varejao. (Dec. 15, 2012) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

PHILADELPHIA -- Raymond Felton is expected to return to the lineup Saturday night, and just in time, as Jason Kidd might not be available because of a back issue.

While Felton played four-on-four during an optional practice Friday, Kidd stayed back at the hotel and received treatment on his back.

Kidd, 39, has missed four games with a back injury this season. With Felton sidelined the last month with a fractured right pinkie, Kidd has been playing extended minutes.

"Every day I tell him I'm sorry," coach Mike Woodson said. "He's a major piece that I'd hate to lose. If he tells me he's hurt a little bit, I've got to back off.

"With Raymond being back, I'm definitely going to start lowering them a little bit and playing him in different spurts, especially if we need him down the stretch. That's when he's more valuable."

Felton said he was hit and smacked a couple of times on the hand and that he felt fine after his first contact practice since he suffered the injury Dec. 25 against the Lakers.

The Knicks went 6-6 without Felton and missed his ability to get in the paint and create shots for himself and his teammates.

A good sign for Felton, who also played one-on-one with Chris Copeland, was that he said he wasn't thinking about his finger during the workout.

"That was my main thing -- to play," Felton said. "If it hurts, that just lets me know I'm not ready. I just made sure I did everything aggressive the way I play, and I was fine."

Felton said he still had to be examined by the doctor Friday to make sure he has clearance to play Saturday night against the 76ers.

Woodson said he hopes to play Felton about 25 minutes.

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