The New York Knicks enter the 2013 NBA Playoffs as hot as any team in the league.
The Knicks have won 16 of their last 18 games, clinching the No.2 seed in the Eastern Conference. They are set to host the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the first round of the postseason.
New York may be playing extremely well, but they are one of the least healthy team in the playoffs. Head Coach Mike Woodson's squad suffered a number of major injuries in the past few weeks.
The Knicks two top big men, Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire, have both been hurt for the past month. Chandler has played sparingly with a pinched nerve in his neck, while Stoudemire underwent surgery on his knee.
Fortunately for the Knicks, Chandler should be fit for the playoffs. Despite sitting out the final six games, Woodson stated that New York’s starting center would have played if it were the playoffs. Woodson had the luxury of being able to rest Chandler with the team guaranteed a postseason berth, and the No. 2 seed.
Unlike Chandler, Stoudemire hasn’t been resting. The veteran underwent surgery on his knee in the middle of March and was given an initial recovery time of six weeks. It appears the big man won’t return in the first round.
Woodson said his “gut” tells him Stoudemire won’t be available against Boston. Stoudemire might be able to come back if the Knicks advance to the later rounds, but he has yet to start running since his March 11 surgery.
New York may be better off with Stoudemire on the bench. The team went 38-15 when he was injured and just three games over .500 with Stoudemire in the lineup.
Besides Chandler and Stoudemire, almost every other big man on the Knicks roster is battling injuries.
An ankle injury has kept Kenyon Martin out for seven of the last eight contests, but he should be ready for Game 1. Marcus Camby hasn’t played in April. He’s expected to come back, as well.
Rasheed Wallace announced his retirement on Wednesday, after it looked like the Knicks would get him back for the playoffs. A foot injury forced him to sit out since the middle of December, though he returned for a four minute stint in the second to last game of the season.