Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire is expected to miss the start of the regular season and be out two to three weeks because of an injured left knee.
He returned to New York on Sunday for another evaluation, and an MRI revealed a ruptured benign cyst, the team said.
Stoudemire had played in only one preseason game, sitting out the first two because of a bruised left knee. He scored 18 points Friday against Toronto in 27 minutes, then sat out again Saturday against Boston in Albany. The Knicks practiced Sunday in Syracuse, where they play Philadelphia on Monday.
The Knicks open their regular season Nov. 1 against Brooklyn.
”That’s tough. I hope he gets better,” said Nets guard Deron Williams, who has known Stoudemire since high school. ”He’s had some struggles with injuries, but it doesn’t change how we think about the Knicks. They still have a good team.”
Stoudemire was limited to 47 games last season and averaged just 17.5 points, his worst total since his rookie season of 2002-03. He missed 15 games because of injury, though none because of knee problems.
Still, anything involving knees is a concern when it comes to Stoudemire, who had microscopic surgery on his left knee in 2005 and arthroscopic surgery on his right knee the following spring. The Phoenix Suns refused to offer him a fully guaranteed maximum contract in 2010 when he became a free agent, and the Knicks couldn’t even insure his contract when they signed him.
The Knicks could start 40-year-old Kurt Thomas in Stoudemire’s spot or play Carmelo Anthony as an undersized power forward, which they did with success late last season when Stoudemire missed 13 games with a bulging disk in his lower back.