The Knicks hope Amar'e Stoudemire will play in Game 3 against the Pacers. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
New York Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire has already been ruled out for the first two games of the team's Eastern Conference Semifinals series with Indiana Pacers, and head coach Mike Woodson is targeting Stoudemire to return in Game 3, reports ESPN.com.
Stoudemire has not played since March 7 with a right knee injury. This season, he played in 29 games, averaging 14.2 points and five rebounds.
"If he feels fine after Friday, then I think we will play him Saturday. If he's right he can help us a lot. There's no doubt," Woodson said. "We will expect the same thing out of him if he comes back."
The Knicks need help for center Tyson Chandler and forward Kenyon Martin to help keep Indiana's bigs off the boards. The Pacers outrebounded the Atlanta Hawks by 11 rebounds per game in their first-round 4-2 series win.
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A healthy Stoudemire also gives Woodson the opportunity to have multiple big men on the floor simultaneously. The Knicks often featured one big man -- either Chandler or Martin -- at center against the Celtics. Both Chandler and Martin were in foul trouble at different times in the six-game series.