Amar'e Stoudemire's Injury Dooms the New York Knicks
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The news that Amar'e Stoudemire will be sidelined for six weeks could not have come at a worse time for the New York Knicks.
This timetable means that the power forward might miss the rest of the regular season.
It's another setback for the power forward, who has been plagued with knee injuries for most of his career. He underwent microfracture surgery in 2005 and missed the first two months of this season while recovering from another knee surgery.
While Stoudemire did not practice on Saturday and was listed as questionable for the game against the Utah Jazz, few could have predicted that he was about to take such an extended absence from basketball.
After he came back from his last injury at the beginning of January, Stoudemire has been rock solid for the Knicks. He has averaged 14.2 PPG in 23 MPG with a 22.03 PER.
Stoudemire has been so valuable over the past three months because of his efficient shooting. He is averaging 57 percent from the field, which has been critical as most of New York's other scorers have regressed.
Other prolific Knicks such as J.R. Smith and Tyson Chandler have also been struggling. Smith is averaging 37 percent over his past five games, while Chandler's shooting percentage has gone from 71 percent in November to 54 percent in February.
Losing Stoudemire's production is going to be devastating down the stretch. The Knicks are currently battling it out with the Indiana Pacers for the No. 2 spot, but the Brooklyn Nets and the Chicago Bulls are not far behind.
His great performances over the past week prompted a discussion regarding whether Stoudemire should be named a starter.
Stoudemire played more than 30 minutes for the first time this season against the Cleveland Cavaliers last Monday. He came off the bench to help the Knicks recover from a 22-point deficit to take home a 102-97 victory. Stoudemire had 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field in 32 minutes.
New York was able to beat Detroit and almost beat Oklahoma without Anthony, but the Knicks are going to be in trouble if they have to play many games without their two most prolific players.
While the Knicks were 21-9 this season before Stoudemire was ready to play, it seems unlikely that they will be able to repeat that performance.
Earlier in the season, the Knicks thrived thanks to their three-point shooting, but as of March 9, the team has dropped to ninth in the league in three-point percentage with 36.9 percent.
With Stoudemire out, the Knicks have to rely more on Kenyon Martin. The veteran was given 17 minutes on the court against the Thunder and contributed four points on 2-of-3 shooting.
While it's a relief that Martin is getting more playing time, he is not going to be an adequate replacement for Stoudemire.
The Knicks would have been a force to reckon with had Stoudemire stayed healthy.
What the Knicks are losing is a big man who can be the focal point of the offense. Unless Stoudemire makes a miracle recovery, they are not getting that back.
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