With a few New York Knicks returning from injuries over the month of January, there will be several players relegated to lesser roles in the coming weeks.
The rotation alteration has already begun with Amar'e Stoudemire's return to action, and Mike Woodson's lineups will continue to take new shapes once Rasheed Wallace and Iman Shumpert are reacquainted with the MSG hardwood.
Raymond Felton's injury has also impacted the lineup, as Jason Kidd has been forced to shift over from his off-guard spot to handling the point full time. Pablo Prigioni remains slotted behind Kidd in the depth chart—only now he's a backup point guard instead of holding down third-string duties.
The frontcourt will see its fair share of changes as well.
Here are three players who should expect to get less playing time once Stoudemire shakes off the rust and Wallace fully recovers from his foot ailment.
1. Steve Novak (Minutes taken by Amar'e Stoudemire, Chris Copeland and Rasheed Wallace)
Last year's best long-range shooter isn't thriving as mightily as he did a season ago, and his luck is about to take a turn for the worse.
Amar'e Stoudemire and Rasheed Wallace rejoining the squad this month can only mean fewer chances for Novak, as there can only be so many frontcourt minutes divvied up. Novak's reputation as a one-trick pony doesn't help his cause here either.
In 2010-11, when paired with Stoudemire in the lineup, Novak saw his production markedly declined. With STAT being such an offensively dominant force for the Knicks, it doesn't take much to figure he'll be attempting his fair share of field goals—leaving even fewer shots for an already-hesitant Novak.
Rookie Chris Copeland has shown a pretty shooting stroke—he's nailing 41 percent of his threes this year—and can create much more offense off the dribble. Expect the 30-year-old's minutes to be on the uptick at the expense of Novak.
2. Ronnie Brewer (Minutes taken by J.R. Smith and eventually Iman Shumpert)
Ronnie Brewer's sizzling start to his Knicks career seems as if it took place in prehistoric times.
In his first 17 games wearing blue and orange, the ex-Bull—and career 26 percent three-point shooter—was sinking long-balls at a 42-percent clip. Unfortunately for Brewer and the Knicks, it's been an uphill battle ever since.
In the ensuing 16 games since his red-hot beginning, Brewer is sporting a three-point field goal percentage of 16.7 percent. He made just four threes in the month of December and none after Dec. 9.
Brewer was brought aboard as a defensive-minded stopgap at shooting guard until Iman Shumpert returns from his knee injury. Injuries have forced Brewer to log most of his minutes at the 3, but his focus remains on the defensive end. Like his shooting, his defensive play was top-notch at the beginning of the season, but it too has dramatically tailed off in recent weeks.
His defensive rating (an estimate of points allowed per 100 possessions) has ballooned from 103 in the Knicks' first 17 contests to 109 in the games since.
With J.R. Smith playing like a starter on both ends and Iman Shumpert eyeing a return by the end of January, all of Brewer's impact minutes as a New York Knick may have already been played.
3. Jason Kidd (Minutes taken by Pablo Prigioni, Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert)
Jason Kidd has been a linchpin of the Knicks on both sides of the ball this season. On offense, the 39-year-old provides a sense of stability and composure. On defense, the veteran often seems to be in the right place at the right time and comes away with timely steals.
While Kidd's importance in 2012-13 thus far cannot be denied, the fact remains that, in his 19th NBA season, he will need to be spelled and his minutes restricted in order to have him rested for the postseason.
Injuries are never opportune, but the timing of Raymond Felton's hand fracture was especially unfortunate for the Knicks, as Kidd has been forced to log most of the minutes at point guard in Felton's absence.
Mike Woodson has vowed to increase Pablo Prigioni's minutes at point guard and has honored his word. Prigioni has averaged 19.8 minutes per game over the last five matchups, significantly more than his season average of 14.
What should the Knicks starting lineup be at full strength?
Prigioni has preformed well in his increased role—he dished out nine assists against the San Antonio Spurs on Jan. 3—and the Knicks may be better off in the long run if Woodson runs him out there even more.
Upon his return, Iman Shumpert may see some burn at the point as well. He logged minutes at the 1 early last season before Jeremy Lin's emergence and could do the same in his sophomore campaign. The Knicks head coach said on MSG's The Mike Woodson Show that he wouldn't be opposed to giving some minutes to Shumpert at the point.
Any move that limits Kidd's minutes to fewer than 30 per night should be explored. Anticipate Woodson doing so until Felton returns.
Follow me on Twitter at @JSDorn6.
All stats used are accurate as of games entering Jan. 7.