Initial reports say Amar'e Stoudemire
could be sidelined longer than anticipated. (Getty Images)
By Ben Golliver
You've always got to keep an eye out for that creeping rehabilitation timeline.
Less than a week after Amar'e Stoudemire was diagnosed with a Baker's cyst on his surgically-repaired left knee, multiple reports indicate that the New York Knicks forward's injury needs a second look and could cause him to miss more time than anticipated.
The New York Daily News reports that Stoudemire, originally expected to miss the first one or two weeks of the season, could now be sidelined for more than a month.
Amar'e Stoudemire is seeking a second opinion to determine the severity of the left knee injury that could keep the Knicks power forward sidelined for the first month of the NBA regular season.
The Knicks team doctors discovered that Stoudemire suffered a ruptured cyst on his left knee during last week's exhibition game against the Toronto Raptors. The timetable given by the Knicks for Stoudemire's return is two to four weeks but the same source says a more plausible timetable is four to five weeks.
ESPNNY.com confirmed that Stoudemire will seek a second opinion but reported that his rehabilitation timeline is still up in the air.
New York Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire will get a second opinion on his injured left knee, a league source confirmed. Stoudemire was originally scheduled to return from the injury -- a ruptured cyst in his knee -- in 10 to 17 days.
"He could still be back in two weeks, but they don't know," the league source said.
If Stoudemire does indeed miss a month, he could potentially sit all of New York's 15 games in November, including at least five games against teams expected to make the Eastern Conference playoffs (Brooklyn, Miami, Philadelphia twice, Indiana). He has already been ruled out for New York's highly anticipated opener against the Nets in Brooklyn's new Barclays Center on Nov. 1.
This news comes out as the Knicks juggle a host of injury problems. Starting center Tyson Chandler is day-to-day with a knee bruise, reserve center Marcus Camby has battled a calf injury, guard J.R. Smith has dealt with an Achilles injury and guard Iman Shumpert remains out after surgery to repair his ACL.
Coach Mike Woodson's options for replacing Stoudemire are limited. He can shift Carmelo Anthony from his preferred starting small forward position into the power forward role, clearing minutes for Steve Novak at the three, or he can use 40-year-old reserve power forward Kurt Thomas a starter. In light of Stoudemire's absence and New York's age and injury concerns, league sources told SI.com to expect 6-foot-8 reserve forward Chris Copeland to stick on the Knicks roster.
According to the Mayo Clinic, popliteal cysts, also known as Baker's cysts, are marked by an excess of fluid build-up in the back of the knee which can cause pain, swelling or tightness. They can be caused by arthritis or cartilage damage, among other knee joint problems.
Stoudemire underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee in October 2005, a procedure that forced him to miss virtually all of the 2005-06 season. Nevertheless, he came back to play all 82 games in 2006-07 and eventually played well enough for the Phoenix Suns that the Knicks gave him a five-year, $100 million contract during the summer of 2010. Stoudemire is on the books this season for $19.9 million and will be paid $22.4 million in 2013-14 and $24.4 million in 2014-15.
Stoudemire, 29, appeared in just one preseason game, scoring 18 points and grabbing five rebounds in 27 minutes against the Toronto Raptors on Friday. The Knicks have cited his left knee in explaining his preseason absences. He averaged 17.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists last season.