Amar'e Stoudemire Injury Update: Will The Knicks Big Man Return By Christmas?
Amare Stoudemire has all 22 games this season. REUTERS

With New York flourishing at the top of the Eastern Conference, the Knicks and Amar’e Stoudemire have taken their time with the All-Star power forward’s return to the court.

Stoudemire has still not been cleared to practice, and is continuing solo workouts to rehab his surgically repaired left knee, according to the New York Daily News. The 6-foot-10 forward originally targeted Christmas Day for his return back in November, but New York and head coach Mike Woodson have been mum on an exact day.

During the preseason, Stoudemire and the Knicks learned he had ruptured a benign cyst in his knee and was to miss only two to three weeks. Later, Stoudemire underwent a procedure called debridement, which cleaned out debris in his knee, and his recovery time was pushed back to almost two months. He has now missed all 22 games this season.

The Knicks raced out to 17-5 record during the first quarter of the season, and have already toppled the defending champion Miami Heat twice and are the only undefeated team at home in the NBA.

The Knicks have built an excellent buffer in the East, which puts less pressure on Stoudemire to return. He has a long history with knee injuries and reconstruction, needing micro-fracture surgery in 2005 and playing in just three games that season.

What his role will be on the continuously hot Knicks remains to be seen. Stoudemire and team-leading scorer Carmelo Anthony have not played well together since Anthony was traded to New York in 2010.