Debby Wong-USA Today Sports
Stoudemire's injury history has played a huge role in the latter stages of his career.
This all brings us back to the reason we (you, me, Knicks fans, NBA fans...everybody) have been discussing this topic for what seems like an entire season: Amar'e Stoudemire's health.
STAT arrived in New York with health issues. In 2005-06, he underwent microfracture surgery after significant cartilage damage was discovered. Then in 2009, Amar'e suffered a detached retina after being poked in the eye during a game—the injury responsible for Stoudemire's trademark goggles.
He made it through his first Knicks season almost completely unscathed, appearing in 78 games for New York that season. Knicks fans didn't have to wait much longer than that for the injuries to flare up, however.
During the Knicks playoff series with the Boston Celtics in 2011, Stoudemire pulled a muscle in his back that severely hampered his play in the series.
To compensate for the back weakness, Stoudemire put in extra work the following offseason. He added 15 pounds of muscle to his back before the start of the 2011-12 season, but he would soon find out that the added bulk would only slow him down and eliminate the bounce from his game.
By the time Stoudemire shed the bulk, it was mid-March, but he finally appeared to be his dominant self. With aid from Jeremy Lin, Amar'e was back in the swing of things. From March 6 to March 24 of last season, Stoudemire averaged 18 points and eight rebounds per game on 58-percent shooting, with one block.
It was on March 24, however, that STAT was forced to leave a game early with back pain. It was later announced that he'd be out indefinitely—just as we're finally getting re-acquainted with the old king of New York.
This season, Amar'e appeared to be in tip-top shape. He put in work with Hakeem Olajuwon and pronounced himself healthy again.
Until he banged knees with Chris Copeland in training camp one October afternoon. What was originally diagnosed as a bruised knee escalated quickly to a ruptured cyst that required surgery and two months of recovery time.
Which brings us to where we are now.
Stoudemire can't afford another injury setback at this point, and bringing him in as a reserve eases him into action more gently. Rushing him upon return and trotting Amar'e out for 30 minutes per game right away wouldn't be wise on Mike Woodson's part.
Luckily, the team's head coach knows better.
Follow me on Twitter at @JSDorn6.