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Raymond Felton hopes to be back in late January

Raymond Felton dribbles to the basket against the

Raymond Felton dribbles to the basket against the Los Angeles Lakers' Jodie Meeks in the second half of a game at Staples Center. (Dec. 25, 2013) Credit: Getty

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Raymond Felton is relieved that he didn't need surgery on his right hand and believes he can return in late January, the week after the Knicks return from London.

Felton said if he had required surgery to repair the fracture in his right pinkie that he suffered Dec. 25 against the Lakers, he would have missed eight to 12 weeks because "they would have had to put in pins and screws." No surgery made it four to six weeks. Felton is shooting for closer to four.

"Once my bone heals, it's probably up to my comfort," he said. "Hopefully the bone will heal before we leave for London."

The Knicks are scheduled to fly to London Jan. 14. He's targeting Boston on Jan. 24 or Philadelphia on Jan. 26.

"Probably not Brooklyn [Jan. 21] from what me and Doc talked about," Felton said. "So either that Boston or maybe that Philly game."


Getting defensiveWhen told that Amar'e Stoudemire said this is the first time in his career he's being taught defense, Mike D'Antoni reacted by calling that statement "mind-boggling'' and saying Stoudemire had thrown all of his former coaches under the bus.

When that reaction was relayed to him, Stoudemire laughed and said, "Really?"

Said Stoudemire, "It was taken out of context. Coach [Mike] Woodson is a defensive coach. He's known to be a defensive coach. The strategies that he's teaching me now, it's different than what I've learned before. And he puts a lot of emphasis on the defensive end, more than I ever had before.

"It wasn't a knock on any of my previous coaches because I had great success with coach D'Antoni. What we were doing, I had to do something right because we won many games. But it was more a compliment to coach Woodson."

Woodson sat with Stoudemire on the flight here, going over tape and defensive strategies and principles.


Shumpert closerIman Shumpert (knee surgery) said he will have his knee tested this week. If all goes well, he could be cleared for five-on-five contact.


No back-to-backs?Stoudemire remains on a minutes restriction and might not be able to play in back-to-backs right now. The Knicks have a set Thursday (Indiana) and Friday (Chicago). Woodson said Stoudemire might play in only one of the games.

"We got to gauge it," Woodson said. "That was one of the things coming in that if it's a back-to-back, he probably wouldn't play that back game. We'll see. If he can only play on the front end, he's going to play the front end and we'll figure out the back end."


Buzzer-beatersStoudemire honored his late brother, Hazell, Saturday night by providing tickets and transportation to the game to 30 children from their hometown of Lake Wales. Hazell Stoudemire, who died in a car accident last Feb. 6, would have celebrated his birthday Friday . . . Rasheed Wallace (acute stress reaction, left foot) missed his 11th straight game.

New York Sports