Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images
When the Knicks are healthy, they can compete with any team in the NBA. But that stipulation is far from a guarantee as we begin the 2013-14 season.
Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton, 60 percent of the Knicks' starting lineup, combined to miss 45 games last year. While it seems like the three have recovered from their respective injuries, the underlying truth is that these core players are aging. Problematic health is no longer a possibility for the trio. It's more like an occupational reality.
Anthony is still only 29 but is entering his 11th professional season and has logged over 700 games. Earlier in the year, the star forward admitted, "I don't think I'll ever be 100 percent," according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
Chandler is 31 and has played in almost 800 games. He has returned this season with (alleged) complete health, a new jump shot and a desire to prove that his poor 2013 playoff performance was a compromised effort.
But Knicks fans will have to hold their breath as he battles down low with the younger and larger centers in the conference, such as Roy Hibbert, Joakim Noah and Brook Lopez.
Current injuries are also on Knicks fans' minds. J.R. Smith was recently cleared to play (although he must now serve a five-game suspension) after recovering from knee surgery. The 2012-13 Sixth Man of the Year made a shrewd financial decision in admittedly delaying the procedure this summer until he had signed a big contract.
But Smith's bank account won't help the Knicks win a championship, and we've yet to see him log serious minutes on that repaired left meniscus.
And, at this point, the Knicks will take whatever they can get out of Amar'e Stoudemire, who played only 29 games last season and had yet another surgery this summer. The forward's eggshell knees have turned him from the face of the franchise into mostly an afterthought.
Every team has health concerns. But for the Knicks in particular, costly injuries loom at every tipoff.