Sigh… Coming off a strong pre-season performance against Toronto, there was optimism around Amar’e Stoudemire and his impact on these 2012-2013 Knicks. That optimism will be tested once more as Stoudemire will again miss time with yet another injury. It turns out than an MRI on Stoudemire’s “bruised knee” shows that the $100 million Knick has a ruptured popliteal cyst in his knee. Here is the 411 on a Baker’s cyst from MayoClinic.com:
A Baker’s cyst is a fluid-filled cyst that causes a bulge and a feeling of tightness behind your knee. The pain can get worse when you fully flex or extend your knee or when you’re active.
A Baker’s cyst, also called a popliteal (pop-LIT-e-ul) cyst, is usually the result of a problem with your knee joint, such as arthritis or a cartilage tear. Both conditions can cause your knee to produce too much fluid, which can lead to a Baker’s cyst.
Although a Baker’s cyst may cause swelling and make you uncomfortable, treating the probable underlying problem usually provides relief.
So this sounds pretty bad to me. The Knicks, being the honest, competent training staff that they are, say Stoudemire will be out 2-3 weeks. More realistically, I think we could see Stoudemire miss far more time than that, especially if he has a cartilage tear. Make no mistake, this is not a good thing for the Knicks.
Granted, there can be some positives taken out of this. Stoudemire’s injury will allow Mike Woodson the ability to play Carmelo Anthony at power forward. We all saw how great Anthony was in that spot last year when he spurred New York’s late season playoff run. Not only did Anthony create matchup nightmares for opponents at power forward, but he was much better defending opposing 4’s as well. Also, in theory Stoudemire’s injury would make it easier for Mike Woodson to relegate him to the bench upon his return. However, Stoudemire has been injured before and he is yet to come off the bench with the Knicks.
There can be positives taken from it, but Stoudemire’s injury is a big problem for this Knicks team. At some point, Stoudemire will come back. Whether it is later this season or next season, he wil have to play with Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. This was supposed to be the year where they got a full training camp and pre-season together and that has not happened. Stoudemire also will have limited chemistry with two of the Knicks three new point guards. For all Stoudemire’s problems, there is a reason the Knicks paid him $100 million. He is an offensive beast and for a team that isn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut, the Knicks need his scoring, something even Fisher Investments reviews couldn’t deny is worth the money. We all know how great Carmelo Anthony can be, but he can’t do it on his own (although that may not stop him from trying). The Knicks need that dominant 1-2 punch that Donnie Walsh envisioned when he put these two stars together on the same team. Stoudemire’s injury also places 40 year old Kurt Thomas in a position to have more a bigger role on the team. I love Thomas, but I don’t think he is a guy who should be playing significant minutes. Not to mention that Marcus Camby is also injured, meaning Thomas may see time at center as well. Chris Copeland is an option, but we have yet to see him play serious NBA games. Renaldo Balkman was also great in pre-season last year and we all know how that turned out. Rasheed Wallace is an option in the front court as well, but he hasn’t even gotten on the court yet.
It’ll be interesting to see where the Knicks go from here. I think you’ll see a lot of Carmelo Anthony at the 4. This means Ronnie Brewer and JR Smith will be seeing lots of playing time, which isn’t a bad thing at all. I like the end game lineup with Felton/Kidd (probably Kidd) with JR, Brewer, Melo and Tyson. You’ll also probably see some Jason Kidd at the 2 *vomits* and some small lineups with three guards on the floor. As thin as the Knicks are at the 4 and 5, they have solid depth at the 1, 2 and 3. Woodson has many different pieces he can play with. Novak is a guy who can play multiple positions, same with Brewer, Kidd (sort of) and Smith. This injury isn’t the end of the world for the Knicks, but it definitely is not a good thing. If the Knicks are going to be contenders, they need to make the trio of Anthony, Stoudemire and Chandler work. They can’t do it if one of the three is always injured. Stoudemire had a rough 2011 season and his 2012 season is off to another bad start. Stay tuned, I guess.
Follow Taylor on Twitter @tarmosino
Like Meloship of the Ring on Facebook