Amare Stoudemire could be sidelined for two months, the second straight season the New York Knicks forward will miss significant time because of injury.
The Knicks said Tuesday that Stoudemire would have left knee surgery and could be out six to eight weeks, more than twice as long as originally estimated when he was hurt during the preseason.
The team said he will have a debridement, a procedure to remove tissue.
”It’s tough. I mean, Amare’s a big piece to our puzzle, man. I don’t care how you slice it,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. ”We’ll be here when he gets back, that’s for sure. We’ve just got to hold the fort down until he’s able to get back in a uniform and on the floor playing.”
Stoudemire missed the first two preseason games with a bruised left knee, then scored 18 points in 27 minutes against Toronto on Oct. 19. He was bothered by more pain and the Knicks announced he had a ruptured cyst and would be sidelined two to three weeks.
But he and the Knicks decided after further discussion and consultation to have the procedure.
Stoudemire struggled through an injury-filled 2011-12, though none of his problems were with his surgically repaired knee. He missed 15 games because of injuries, 13 with a bulging disk in his back, and his average of 17.5 points was his lowest since his rookie season.
His absence further hinders the Knicks’ hopes of getting Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony to mesh in their first full season together. The Knicks are just 31-40 when both play, and both have said they expected things to be better this season with their first training camp.
”It’s disappointing. I definitely thought this was going to be the season that we had a chance to go out there and play together in a full season, no injuries or things like that,” Anthony said. ”But at the end of the day, you can’t control that. You can’t control what happens to your body, you can’t control injuries.
”We want him to just be healthy. End of the day, when he’s ready to come back, his jersey will be hanging in the locker and we’ll be ready for him.”
The Knicks could opt to play Anthony at Stoudemire’s power forward spot, which they did with success late last season.
New York did get good injury news Tuesday when center Tyson Chandler was able to take part in portions of their practice. He was diagnosed with a bone bruise in his left knee after a collision in an exhibition game last Wednesday, but hopes to play Thursday in the season opener at Brooklyn.
The NBA communications staff announced on its Twitter page Tuesday night that the game would be played as scheduled, despite damage to New York’s subway system caused by Hurricane Sandy. The NBA said earlier Tuesday it was still evaluating games for later this week.