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Amar’e Stoudemire Set to Return for Game 3


Many sports fans continue to chide Derrick Rose for sitting out – even though he has been cleared to play – but they won’t be able to say or do the same to Amar’e Stoudemire, who is planning to return to the Knicks for game three of their series with the Pacers on Saturday.

There has been talk of a possible Stoudemire return for a while, but the team has decided now is the time, with the Knicks locked in a 1-1 second round series tie with the Indiana Pacers. Although the Knicks are certainly exited to have Stoudemire back, they are still planning to take it easy with him and will limit his playing time to 10-15 minutes max.

“It won’t be very many minutes,” coach Mike Woodson said, according to ESPN.com. “I’m thinking somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes, if that.”

Stoudemire hasn’t played a game since March 7 after undergoing knee surgery, but he has enjoyed a rather smooth setback-free recovery. Even still, the team is taking the proper precautions to ensure he can become a valuable contributor again.

“We have talked about [managing expectations],” Woodson said. “I thought maybe we might have pushed a little too much early on, so we’ve got to be really cautious this time around — just to make sure that we’re doing the right things with him. It’s not that we didn’t think that when he came back the first time, but this time, we really have got to be cautious. He understands; he has no choice.”

Stoudemire may not have a say in how much he ends up playing, but he doesn’t seem to mind. He just wants to get out on the floor and help his team win games.

“I can play whatever the coaching staff wants me to play. … Any time you get on the court, you have a chance to make an impact on the game,” Stoudemire said. “So if I’m able to play for Game 3, however [much] time coach Woodson puts me in for, I’m going to definitely contribute.”

And Stoudemire is confident he can return to top form in no time.

“Despite injuries, I still have to work and definitely work toward becoming that great player again,” he said. “So as I continue to practice and get in better shape and improve, I should be able to play at a high level.”

The Knicks sure hope so. Without him in the lineup, they’ve relied even more on perimeter jump shots and against a team that loves to pound the ball inside, like the Pacers, they’ll need a strong defender in the middle.

Stoudemire’s limited presence shouldn’t have a huge impact on game three, but his ability to block and alter shots should give his team a slight boost and a better chance to win. Expect Indiana to be on the favorite line at home in game three, but give the Knicks some serious consideration with their versatile big man back in the game.


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