With a potential starting five of Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and JR Smith as their sixth man, the Knicks have a core group of players in, or close to, the prime of their career. However with injuries to key guys, the depth of the Knicks has been tested! Veteran role players have had to step up and recent additions such as Chris Copeland, Pablo Prigioni and James White have had an opportunity to contribute.
It is undeniable that the Knicks injuries have contributed to recent losses to teams such as the Rockets, Bulls and Kings. So lets take a look at the New York Knicks 2012/13 injury concerns and get an update on the possible return of a few of their key contributors.
Stoudemire is a max contract, 6 time all-star, starting power forward in the league today. Over his career he has widely been considered as one of the best scoring big men in the league. Unfortunately he has had multiple injury issues over his career, specifically to his ‘uninsured’ knees and more recently to his back. Amare has missed the entire 2012/13 season with a ruptured cyst which required surgery. Stoudemire is expected to return on New Years day versus Portland, although it has been stated that he will be on limited minutes.
Shumpert was drafted by the Knicks as the 17th overall pick in the 2011/12 draft and quickly established himself as an elite perimeter defender in the league. He was averaging 9.5 points, 2.8 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.7 steels per game. Unfortunately Shumpert went down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee, in game 1 of the first round playoff series loss to the Miami Heat. Shumpert has been cleared for non contact workouts and is expected to make his long awaited return for the Knicks within the next 3-4 weeks. Similar to Stoudemire, Shumpert will also be playing under limited minutes.
Felton has been reunited with the Knicks and has had an impressive start to the 2012/13 season. Averaging 15.8 points, 6.3 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game, Felton has been a big contributor to the Knicks success, even with his poor field goal percentage. Unfortunately he recently sustained a fracture to his right pinkie finger, which requires surgery and he will be out for 4-6 weeks.
The 38 year old veteran has made his return to the Knicks this season and has been playing at a reasonable level. Coming off the bench, Rasheed provides a spark, as well as strong defensive leadership. Unfortunately he has been listed as day to day with what is being referred to by the Knicks as a chronic stress reaction to his left foot. It is unknown when he will make his return.
Anthony is having a career season with the Knicks and many would argue he is a top three MVP candidate. However his new found aggression and committment has resulted in some minor injury concerns. Carmelo previously had suffered from an ankle issue, which caused him to miss multiple games. He is currently suffering from a hyper extended knee which has caused him to miss the last two Knicks outings.
Camby is a former defensive player of the year award winning center who as recently as last season was still averaging 9 rebounds per game. Unfortunately Camby missed the entire pre season with the Knicks due to a calf injury, and has also missed a majority of the season thus far with plantar fascia in his left foot. Camby was cleared to play on Christmas day and he did, but for the moment, we are looking at an out of shape veteran who is not going to be able to give the Knicks much more than 10 effective minutes per game.
Kidd has had some issues with back spasms this season, missing four consecutive games. Kidd seems to be past this, although he is quickly approaching 40 years of age and his current average of 30 minutes per game is a concern.
The previously mentioned injuries and injury concerns have played a part in the Knicks recent slump. Although the Knicks still have 11 wins in the month of December (sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference) the injuries are piling up and affecting team chemistry. The Knicks are in first place of the Atlantic division with a record of 21-9.
I am sure the Knicks and their head coach Mike Woodson are looking forward to the return of Amare Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert and Rasheed Wallace. For now, it seems the oldest team in NBA history and arguably one of the deepest teams in the league is struggling to field a healthy roster.